Adaptability

Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. - Acts 17:17

The apostle Paul's heart was stirred for the people of Athens. He cared. But then he took action. The Bible tells us, "Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there" (Acts 17:17).

In the same way, if we want to reach our culture, then we must go to where people are. Paul went right to where people were gathered and brought the gospel to them. And not only were they ignorant of truth, but they were elitist and smug about it. They said, "What does this babbler want to say?" (Acts 17:18) and then invited one of the greatest communicators in church history to come and address them. Paul seized the moment, and he also adapted his approach to the situation.

Fishermen use different kinds of bait for different kinds of fish. And when you go fishing for men and women, so to speak, you also must use different kinds of bait. You want to offer something that people will understand, something they would relate to.

We find the classic example of this in John 3 and 4, as Jesus presented the gospel to two people: a very religious man and an immoral woman. With Nicodemus, Jesus cut to the chase and essentially said, "You need to be born from above. Your religious views and beliefs are not enough. You need a spiritual rebirth, Nicodemus, and you need to do it now."

But in speaking to a burned-out woman who had tried to find fulfillment in relationships with men, Jesus appealed to her inner thirst and spoke of a living water that would satisfy her deepest longings. He adapted to the situation. And that is what we need to do as well.