In Revelation chapter 2, God speaks to the believers in Thyatira through a vision given to Saint John. It’s an intense, specific letter that is not a chapter long, but longest of all the letters written to seven churches in a large surrounding area.
In studying this letter, I was wandering around my back yard contemplating its contents, and I asked God what He wanted me to focus on for a report I was writing and the answer really kind of threw me off, even if it was quite direct. God told me to focus on the location of the city. That was it. Odd. So I went inside, out of the beautiful fall sunshine, and looked up the city location.
Thyatira was located at the base of some mountains, near the river Lycus. It was small, and writers about the region use the word “insignificant” when describing the town. It was, however, located on a road used for trade between other, major cities in the greater region. It served the military, and the travelers between those cities, so there was a lot going on in town even though it was just a stop between destinations.
So, why did God want me to focus on the location? Because believers in Thyatira were constantly given opportunities to spread the faith via the people passing through. From there, God’s Kingdom could advance in many directions, and into large population centers.
That little town put a lot of pressure on the local church, too. But, even though they were being invaded by pagan worship and pressured by the local tradespeople to shut their mouths or lose work (or worse), the faithful believers among the church body in Thyatira were commended by God for doing more for the Kingdom than when they had started out.
Rev 2:19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.”
They “bloomed where they were planted”, even though it was a difficult job.
So what do we do with this?
Have you ever been in a store, or other public place (or private, for that matter) and saw someone and felt the nudging of Holy Spirit to go speak with them, and maybe even pray with them? Have you ever felt called to intervene when something was happening?
Do you ever feel called to hold firm to your faith when someone is putting out an opinion you know to be less than God’s Best for His children? Do you speak up, or do you cave and run from confrontation?
There you are, right where God knew you’d be. Small store, warehouse, parking lot, sidewalk, friend’s house – wherever. Name a location, it doesn’t matter. God knows where you are, why you are really there, and He knows your great potential to inflict damage to the plans of the enemy through Holy Spirit.
Okay – hard question. Have you ever been in any of those situations, and whispered “God, if I am supposed to do this, give me a sign.” I know I have. Of course, there is no OTHER sign given. You are already there – you have the choice to move toward the situation, or leave and let God’s Work fall to the ground until He sends someone else (remember Esther – who did not take comfort in knowing another would come and deliver her people, but prayed hard and then headed in).
What was I thinking, asking that question?! There I was, standing in the perfect location to do something, and I let my pride stand in the way, and then blamed God by asking for a sign!
Holy Spirit is given to us to flow, not to be contained. Christians are built to overcome, not to embrace apathy. Apathy is the cork we place in a bottle of cool stream water so it can become stagnant; slowly seeping away and refreshing no one – not even ourselves.
As Christians, we look forward to what we will do for God after His Return, and rightly so. But God wants us to be practicing NOW. We may not always get it right, but with God there is room to grow. We need to hold onto our faith with gusto as we move, not just be a vessel of clay, sitting quietly and refusing to give water to the thirsty.
Rev 2:24: “But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —” NKJV
Opportunities are all around us. We should at least be watching for them, but also seeking them out. Wherever we are, that is where the opportunity lies. It is the premium position from which to serve.
What need will there be for us to have power, if we aren’t going to hold fast to our faith, and overcome?
Next time we see something and feel God compelling us to move – to overcome – let’s remember that we are placed where we need to be, and God has already spoken to us.
November 9, 2021