The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:24-28
One thing I love about God's Word is that I can read a passage a thousand times, and still find new insight and revelation each time. I have always loved the book of Acts -- to me, it is one of the most inspiring, exciting, challenging, and faith-building books in the entire Bible. I love that it starts out with Jesus ascending into heaven -- and the disciples just staring off into the sky, unsure what to do next. I can so vividly picture that scene - it almost makes me laugh! Because I am pretty sure I'd be doing the same exact thing. Like, "uh... ok... what now?"
Of the entire book of Acts, I've always loved the 17th chapter the most. I think perhaps because I studied Political Science in college, and the idea of Paul addressing the great thinkers and philosophers of the day in the Areopagus is just so interesting! Worlds colliding - classical political thought and one of the heroes of modern Christianity. Not to mention the incredible content of the message that he preached -- how he strategically tailored his sermon to reach the thinkers and philosophers in his audience, using a landmark they would recognize (the altar to the unknown god) to make his point and ultimately convert some of the most skeptical individuals of the day to becoming followers of Jesus Christ.
That being said, I've read this chapter so many times, but only this morning did God show me a new thing that spoke to my spirit. What stood out to me was a little phrase in verse 26, which says that God
...made all the nations... and he marked out their appointed times in history...
What an incredible idea! Our God is so intentional as to mark out an appointed time in history for us. Which just goes to show that you are not here by accident. The God of the Universe set aside this specific time for you to occupy the earth. He could have positioned you at any other point in history. But he chose now. Have you ever thought of why?
The other thing I love about this short verse is that it says our time in history is appointed. If you think about appointment, it carries with it responsibility. No matter how you look at it. If you make an appointment with your doctor, you have a responsibility to make it to that appointment. If you are appointed to a position such as a board member or a chairman, you then bear the responsibilities that accompany that position. That said, if we are appointed to a time in history, we carry the responsibility of that time we are given to occupy the earth.
1. You are not here by accident, and
2. You carry the weight of responsibility for the time in history in which you have been placed,
... then what are we doing with the days that we have? Are we stewarding them responsibly? Are we making the most of every opportunity, as Paul instructs in Ephesians 5:15-16? It is so easy to get carried away by the minutiae of life and neglect the most important thing to which we are called - advancing the message of the gospel here on earth. You're not here to earn a paycheck. You're not here to gain notoriety. You're not here to earn a degree. You're not here to achieve career goals. You've been appointed to this time in history to make disciples of all the earth.
There's no better time than now to refocus our priorities and take our appointment seriously, making the most of the time we've been given here on earth! The reality is that God entrusted us with this season in the earth's timeline. I'm encouraged to emulate Paul's example and live with passion and energy for advancing the kingdom of God here on earth. Will you join me?