are you harvesting with a basket or a combine?
"When they heard about the raising of the dead, some sneered, while others said, 'We must hear you on this topic some other time.' " —Acts 17:32
We Christians in the Western world on the threshold of a new millennium can relate to Paul's ministry in Athens probably better than we can relate to other events in Acts of the Apostles. Paul met the people where they were and received a lukewarm response to his presentation of the Gospel, although he did convert a few people (Acts 17:34). We too are used to lukewarmness and meager results, as we attempt to be relevant to the world.
In contrast, Paul in Thessalonica converted some Jews, "a great number of Greeks sympathetic to Judaism, and numerous prominent women" (Acts 17:4). In Beroea, "many of them came to believe" (Acts 17:12). Jesus told Paul that there were many of His people in Corinth (Acts 18:10). In two years, "all the inhabitants of the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord" (Acts 19:10).
Paul was used to reaping great harvests. Why was his harvest so poor in Athens? Some theories are that, in Athens, Paul did not get around to preaching Christ crucified (see 1 Cor 2:2), did not use the Bible in his preaching, and was doing his ministry alone rather than in community (see Acts 17:16; 2 Cor 2:12-13).
Possibly we can learn from Paul in Athens. In so doing, we can reap the great harvests of Acts of the Apostles and not only the poor ones.
Prayer: Father, may I bear fruit abundantly and more abundantly (see Jn 15:5, 2).
Promise: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. When He comes, however, being the Spirit of truth He will guide you to all truth." —Jn 16:12-13
Praise: Saints Nereus, Achilleus, and Pancras were each beheaded for their faith in Jesus. They offered their "bodies to God as weapons for justice" (Rm 6:13).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Ralph J. Lawrence, October 9, 1998
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 17, 1998