How’s My Location!?

One of the most exhausting conversations to have with people is about how much they don’t like their jobs. I’ve been in a professional environment for almost eight years now and one thing that remains the same though places may change is how dissatisfied people are with their careers. One of the comments that most of my coworkers will tell me as the end of the week draws near is, “It’s almost Friday!”, or “I’ll be happy when this week is over!” Most people’s attitude in the work place is also reflected by which day it is. Most people are depressed and exhausted at the beginning of the work week and usually happier and energetic at the end of the week.  In no way am I saying that is a bad thing because it is natural for us to get burned out, fed up, or even just bored with what we do. We are generally people who look for a change of pace and variety in our lives. As believers though, that shouldn’t be our motivating factor. Our work places shouldn’t be defining us in the aspect of who we are, what we are about, or how we manage our time. For believers, our career is something much different. It is a means of service to God, an avenue to share our testimony and to share the good news of the Gospel. If we are truly reflecting Christ then it shouldn’t matter what day of the week it is, if we are passionate about our career or not, or what we even do for a living. It is all a means to an end, and that end is to glorify God in each and every avenue of our life. Let’s look at a passage where we see an example of that.

Acts 8:25-40

26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.) 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” 30 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: “He was led as a sheep to slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He does not open His mouth. 33 “In humiliation His judgment was taken away; Who will relate His generation? For His life is removed from the earth.” 34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 37 [And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

Most people will look at this passage from the aspect of the Ethiopian eunuch. I want to take a look at it from the aspect of Philip and how God uses him. We see from the beginning of the passage that Philip is directed by God to go down to the road that leads to Gaza from Jerusalem. Philip didn’t have the slightest clue why he was being sent to a random desert road but at the same time doesn’t hesitate either because it was God telling him to go. We are all currently residing somewhere, it may be in the states, or another nation, or another continent for that matter. Regardless of location we have been placed where we are meant to be because God wants to use us there. Since we are God’s children he doesn’t put us in places for our will or our pleasure but to be an asset in service to him. If we are called to go somewhere, it shouldn’t be because we are chasing a career, another step in our education, or just because it seems like a great place to live. The sole purpose of a believer is to serve the king by expanding his kingdom!

In verse 27 we see that Philip encounters the Ethiopian eunuch. In no way was he expecting to run into this individual but it soon becomes clear that God was leading Philip here to speak to him. This may sound strange but wherever we have been placed, we need to consider who the Ethiopian eunuch is in our lives. Is there someone who God has intended for us to run into and associate with so that we can reach out to them? Often times it’s not obvious but usually we can think of a handful of people that we closely associate with that are either believers OR non-believers that God has placed in our lives to share his love with that person. For me it came in the most unexpected way. I had a close friend during my undergrad that I had the opportunity to grow close to. I used to always testify of my faith but wasn’t the best at living it out especially during that season of my life. In any regard, he asked me one day, “Ben, what’s the difference between me and you?” That question really made me reconsider my purpose. He viewed it from the standpoint of how the both of us behaved. He wasn’t one to smoke, drink, sleep around, party, or do drugs. In the eyes of this world he was a stand-up guy. So when he asked me that question, what was the difference between me and him, I couldn’t think of a difference. We had the same interests, talked about the same things, were pursuing the same education, had the same friends, and even had the same aspirations. I couldn’t honestly answer the question what was so different about us. I knew what the answer should have been: Christ! I had Christ and he didn’t and obviously that should have shown a difference in my life and my aspirations but it didn’t! I realized soon after that, it’s a dangerous setting to be in, when you call yourself a believer but you can’t tell the difference between you and the person standing next to you! The difference of believer and unbeliever can’t always be seen in what they may or may not do but rather it should be shown through their interests, passions, aspirations, and how they use their time. Long story short, I had the ability to help my friend get a job at the company where I work and in a sense redeem myself of that lost opportunity from before. God always will use his children to reach out to souls in need, but ultimately we have the choice to use those opportunities or let them go.

In verse 31, we see that the Ethiopian eunuch had the desire to learn and understand from God’s word. The Holy Spirit must have been working in his heart and convicting him, but all he needed was someone to guide him to what it exactly meant. Just consider to yourself, who comes to you to seek advice? Is it a coworker or a close friend, or maybe even an acquaintance? Whoever it is, they are seeking to be guided and taught but it is up to us how we lead them. We can lead them either to the ways of this world in a secular sense or we can lead them seek God and open up his scripture for answers. There are so many people around that searching in this world, they have no idea what they are looking for, and all they know is that they are supposed to check of certain things in life. It could be to get an education, follow a career path, starting a family, making some money, and being happy in life. We know that if that is the purpose of our lives we would be empty to. If we were in their shoes we wouldn’t find satisfaction in those things and neither do they and that’s why they seek advice! They may not know it, but they are looking for God every time they mention a failed endeavor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, career, or interests; in the end that gap in their lives can only be filled by Christ and it is our responsibility to lead them to him!

In verse 39 we see that as soon as the Ethiopian eunuch receives Christ into his life, he is baptized and filled with joy. That is the same way that God uses us! When we diligently seek to serve Him, He will use us in way that we never thought imaginable! It doesn’t have to be leading someone to Christ. It could just plainly be sharing the love of Christ to another person to brighten their day! It comes in the avenues of Godly advice, sharing the gospel message, or even just being kind to those around you. In each of those ways we are reflecting how Christ treated those who came to Him when in need. When unbelievers see you, they shouldn’t see someone just like them, seeking worldly ambitions and empty aspirations, but they should see someone who is completely different. You should be driven by a different motivation. We don’t work to make money or pursue a career, we don’t go to school to get an education, and we don’t live to be happy. We do all those things as the means to glorify God in the areas we have been placed. They are all just a means to an end. We also see from this verse that God immediately takes Philip away from that place once He fulfills his purpose. When we fulfill God’s plan for us where we are, He doesn’t just keep us there to continue along with what everyone else is doing. He has plans for us. He will bring us along to the next opportunity to use in service towards Him. This could be moving to a different place to live, having a change in position or company, going on a mission trip, or even serving God full-time through your local assembly or full-time missions. Just like a company lays out a career path to grow their talent and develop the next leaders of the company, God uses His children constantly to be spiritual leaders in a world that needs God!

Finally we see in verse 40 that Philip is taken to other cities where he continues to share the gospel as he goes along. That should be the ultimate goal and purpose of our Christian walks, to serve God wherever he has placed us. When one story ends, another begins and so does the means by which to serve him. In our lives, things will hardly ever stay the same, God will put us in settings out of our comfort zone, open doors for us which we wouldn’t have thought possible, and lead us in ways unimaginable just because He wants to grow His children and fulfill His purpose in other’s lives by using us. When we see change approaching we shouldn’t be hesitant to act on it. We see that Philip goes as God directs him and though he doesn’t know what the next opportunity may bring, he knows that ultimately in the end God is in control and He will use him to fulfill His will. Worry and fear come naturally to us because we are human, but that shouldn’t ever stop us from serving God where we have been placed now or where we will be placed in the future. If you are in a certain place and you are wondering why, remember God is trying to use you to fulfill His purpose. We can either act on it or keep our faith to ourselves and do what we are set to do in a secular sense. In any case where we have been placed is where we are meant to be and unless we start using the opportunities that God has put us in for His glory we won’t be able to see the true purpose behind it!

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