Oftentimes, the mission of God doesn’t seem to match our conveniently constructed models. In Acts 8:26-40, we catch a glimpse of how God brings about what He has promised is going to happen in Revelation 5:9-10. God orchestrated circumstances in such a way that Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch met on a desert road to bring about His will, and He continues to do so today for the same purposes. But we also see some things about this mission that are often missed, or even rejected, in the West. In this passage we see four realities regarding the mission of God that must be embraced in order to stay faithful to the mission.
- The mission of God is inconvenient
Think about how inconvenient the Lord’s assignment for Phillip was. Phillip had just been scattered from Jerusalem, is a family man needing to provide and seemingly is a blue-collar, lighter skinned Middle Eastern father. Not very convenient to go to a place that is known for robbers, in a desert place at noon in order to talk to a wealthy, dark-skinned Ethiopian eunuch. For someone limited on time, surely there were better assignments. In the West, our culture is built on convenience, constantly attempting to make life more comfortable. While some conveniences may have their place, the mission of God is never convenient, at least not the way our culture thinks about convenience.
- The mission of God is inefficient
Phillip is praying and is directed to go to a desert place. Once there, he is directed by the Spirit to run alongside of a chariot of foreigners. The eunuch’s journey to Jerusalem was conceivably five months long, one way. Once there, he is doubly denied entrance into the assembly at the temple for being a Gentile and a eunuch. While efficiency has its place, the mission of God is hardly efficient and the details surrounding Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch underscore this point. In the West, as one of the holdovers from the Industrial Revolution, our culture loves efficiency. We value seeking the greatest output for the least input.
- The mission of God is ingenious
God combats the core human instinct to “go our own way,” even attempting to earn His favor by our convenient, efficient means. The gospel is a gift, and the only way to be made right in God’s eyes is to admit you need it and simply receive it. Nothing is more convenient than that! But the genius of God is that to grow in this grace is to receive His mission — “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Grace writes a blank check for the obedience of the recipient.
- The mission of God is indisputable
God has given us the end of the story. Either it is true or it isn’t. And if this story is the true story of what He is doing in the world, then the reason His mission seems inconvenient and inefficient to many is perhaps because we’re living for a different story.
My experience has been that those who take Him at His Word and act on it discover that He’s proven Himself, and what He is doing in this world, every step of the way.