“That was sly!”

Acts 13: 4-12

Luke now identifies Saul as Paul who starts his first missionary trip with Barnabas, the encourager, and their young friend John Mark.  Their first stop is the island of Cyprus.  They started by sharing their truth with the Jews, with people with whom they had a common language and a common culture.  Learning to tell our story with people who understand our background is a good place to start.  I don’t know about you, but just because I believe something or experience something, it takes me a few dry runs to figure out how to share it with another.  It’s ok to be a beginner.  Perhaps we can see that sharing our faith is a talent that grows.

         The proconsul, perhaps something like a governor or legal leadership person sends for them to hear what they are teaching.  The man who had an attendant, Elymas, whom Luke describes as a sorcerer, tries to undermine Paul’s testimony.  As we grow, our ability to share grows and sometimes draws attention to us by people who are interested and by people who oppose us.  Opposition does not necessarily mean we are doing something wrong.  Opposition challenges us to refine our story and perhaps help us identify weak points where we need to be clear.

         More importantly, though, is that Paul recognizes Elymas as evil.  Paul identifies deceit, trickery, and perverting the truth.  I think we would call it as being sly.  For parents who have had children in addiction and been pressured by their smooth talk to finance the addiction, this sounds all too familiar.  We look at both sides that justify war and need spiritual insight to find the true story.  Recognizing the disguises of evil is a sign of spiritual growth and wisdom.  Elymas became as blind physically as he was spiritually and the proconsul, upon seeing, believes in Jesus.

         As we reflect on this story today, let us ask ourselves if we are growing in our ability and in our willingness to share our spiritual truth of God’s hand in our lives.  Are we growing in our ability to recognize the different guises of evil?  It is so easy to tell a story in our favor and just slip a little with the truth.  Lord help us to be people of integrity and help us recognize evil deceiving us.  Blessings!

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