I Don’t Get It, Please Explain

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Job 8-10; Acts 8:26-40

30 Running up to the carriage, Philip heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you really understand what you are reading?”

31 The man replied, “Without someone to guide me, how could I?” Then he invited Philip to climb up and sit with him. 32 This was the passage of scripture he was reading:

Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent
    so he didn’t open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation justice was taken away from him.
    Who can tell the story of his descendants
        because his life was taken from the earth?

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, about whom does the prophet say this? Is he talking about himself or someone else?” 35 Starting with that passage, Philip proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him. 36 As they went down the road, they came to some water.

The eunuch said, “Look! Water! What would keep me from being baptized?” 38 He ordered that the carriage halt. Both Philip and the eunuch went down to the water, where Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Lord’s Spirit suddenly took Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Philip found himself in Azotus. He traveled through that area, preaching the good news in all the cities until he reached Caesarea. (Acts 8:30-40, Common English Bible).

I am pretty sure I have told you before, I know I have told some of you before, I was never a good math student. On more than one occasion I made my way to the teacher’s desk and said, “I don’t understand, please explain.” Sometimes it helped. Sometimes it didn’t. And then sometimes, I would have been better off if I had just stayed at my desk and tried to figure it out for myself. I was even more lost after the teacher explained than I was when I walked to the desk.

Before I attended seminary I had to have a philosophy class. It was a requirement to enter seminary. If you didn’t take the class as part of your undergraduate degree, you would take something similar once you arrived on the SMU campus. I am not sure how I passed that class. I have no clue what I read at all. I needed someone to explain it to me.

Before entering the ministry, Cindy and I taught the junior high Sunday school class at our church. We were studying Genesis. One of the girls asked a question, I don’t remember what now (hey, its been like 30 years ago. Give me a break). When neither Cindy or I knew the answer, I told her I would talk to our pastor and get an answer. I did. He told me to tell my young student, “Somethings aren’t meant for us to understand.” I did tell her just that. Praise God she accepted that at face value and we moved on.

The Ethiopian eunuch was trying to read the Scriptures, most likely without retaining much because he didn’t understand much. I think it might be kind of like being a kid like that girl in my Sunday school class so many years ago. Think about being a 15-year-old and trying to understand as you read the King James Version of the Bible. Some may understand, but most would be scratching their heads. They wouldn’t understand.

That is why Cindy and I were in that classroom. We were to teach what those kids didn’t know and when we didn’t know, we were supposed to look for the answer. That is also why the eunuch had Phillip. And, it is pretty easy to see that when Phillip explained the eunuch understood.

It may take prayer. It may take asking a Christian who knows more than you, but we all need to remember the eunuch’s answer to Phillip’s question, “Do you understand what you are reading.” The eunuch replied, “How can I without someone to guide me?”

In a moment like that, perhaps God is calling on you to be a guide and to explain.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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