I'm reading in Acts about Paul's missionary Journey to Athens. At the time, Athens was a place where people dedicated their days to discussing the latest philosophies. The city was full of idols and differing approaches to religion. I would equate the dialog to a modern day college coffee house, where the philosophy majors and deep thinkers go to debate the merits of different worldviews and religions.
So here comes Paul.... He begins to preach the exclusive message of Jesus at the synagogue. The philosophers hear of his message which has been preached just to the Jews. They have a few choice words for Paul...
"...Some of them asked, "What is this babbler trying to say?" Others remarked, "He seems to be advocating foreign gods..." (Acts 17:18)
Can you imagine what these guys were thinking!? How dare the "out of towner" show up with a new message about a new God and not have courage to discuss with those most educated about these kinds of things beforehand. I'm sure it was a mix of curiosity, shock, frustration. Imagine Paul's response when he stumbled across the ultimate display of righteous confusion...
"Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: "Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. " Acts 17:22-23
Imagine these well meaning philosophers who were seeking righteousness through an intellectual path. To make sure they were fully covered, they created an altar to the Miscellaneous! How can there be any fulfillment or redemption in worshipping an unknown God, but many of us do this every day.
- We seek to be righteous without acknowledging the role of the redeemer.
- We work to do the right thing to look upright and perform in compliance with the expectations of others.
Even more so than worshiping the "unknown", I have chosen my own idols. I thought that if I were more popular and had more fun experiences, I would be joyful. The reality is was that I was worshipping the wrong things and it left me more empty as I gave myself over to a cause not worthy of my calling by God. Bit by bit and piece by piece, I gave parts of my soul away in a quest for happiness and fulfillment.
The good news my friends is that OUR REDEEMER LIVES. He is here not to be unknown, but to KNOWN to us. What a glorious picture of humility is the fact that the Almighty God has a passionate concern for each of us individually. Don't take for granted the love that the Father has for you. Bare your soul to Him and He will answer when you call out to Him.