Finding Common Ground

John Tilton


Acts 17:22-23

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People 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. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.


Paul was so wise in his desire to reach the people of Athens. He found common ground in referring to the altar he saw in their presence, and a reference to an “unknown god,” with the intent of using this situation to connect with them and get them to listen to what he had to say about Jesus. He used what they were familiar with in order to get their attention first.


We will find ourselves in many situations where we can either be like a sledge hammer coming down on people with what we want to share, deliver or influence. Yet it seems that would always be easier and wiser to instead find common ground and approach people with grace, thereby not prompting them to put up their guards but rather to open their ears, eyes, minds and hearts. A gentle, kind and gracious spirit will always gain more then an authoritative ax coming down on those we want to reach.


Dear Lord, may I always be reminded to extend and example a gentle, kind and gracious spirit and approach to people, thereby building bridges between common ground.

Devotions for October 23

Job 13,14
Acts 17,18

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