Acts 8: 26-29 reads: “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian… This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip explained the meaning of the Scriptures to the Ethiopian.
This passage tells us a lot. First, Philip was available to hear the voice of God. And it is evident that the Lord, the Holy Spirit, wanted to use Philip to preach the gospel to this Ethiopian. Here, the Holy Spirit gave very precise directions to Philip, entrusted him with a very particular mission. And on the way, the Spirit spoke again and told Philip to approach the Ethiopian’s chariot. Philip again obeyed the voice of the Spirit.
We all want the Lord God to send us, to speak to us clearly in very special ways. Indeed, he has already spoken to us in the Bible and has revealed to us the most important thing: the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. But we always have questions when executing and carrying out his will. Many times we do not know exactly where to go or what to do.
Once a pastor friend told me that as we preach the gospel, the Lord God gives us a green light and we must keep moving forward unless God himself intervenes and changes the course. The risk is to go where we want and not where the Lord wants to send us. This passage has made me ponder what characteristics were in Philip that the Lord chose to speak to him. Or does the Holy Spirit just send anybody? I want the Lord to speak to me about very specific things in ministry. I want to be receptive to his voice.
In this example, the Spirit led Philip to minister to only one person. The Holy Spirit had been working with the Ethiopian preparing him for this encounter with Philip. Sometimes we may want great and important missions. But I ask the Lord Jesus to help me be willing to go even in small missions. The important thing is for me to be in his will. We need to be attentive to the voice of God, to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We need to know he does speak to us and sends us.
So this is my frequent prayer: Lord give me such a heart to listen to you, tell me what are you doing in my community, in my neighborhood, with my congregation, how can I participate in your work, where do you want me to go, what do you want me to do, who do you want to meet me with? What words do you want me to say? I am available for you, send me. Give me a heart receptive to your voice. Amen.
By Hector Barrero