Public speaking is the art of diluting a two-minute idea with a two-hour vocabulary. – Evan Esar
On Tuesday mornings I meet at 6a.m. at Panera Bread with one of our elders. We work through one chapter of Acts each week. This morning we were in Acts 13. vv. 1-4 consumed most of our time…it is rich with meat and insights.
But this morning toward the end of our time we moved into vv. 13ff. Both Dan and I had made similar observations.
Acts 13:14-15: From Perga they [Paul and his companions] went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down. After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
I understand that this is a cultural thing. In my travels in eastern Europe two similar things happen: as a guest I am always invited to bring greetings from my home congregation. And if it known that I am a teacher/preacher, I am always asked to speak something from the Word. Now, admittedly, they usually have more than one sermon. And (at least in the Christian-Baptist churches in which I have moved) they spontaneously ask the 2-3 men who are going to preach to do so right before the service begins.
But I think there is more than culture here. Paul waited until he was invited in order to speak. He did not rush in, but was polite to the synagogue leader. The above quote by Evan Esar is a caution to every preacher. Listen. Wait. Speak only what is necessary. Speak only what is of God.
P.S. The picture is of the foundation of a/the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch today.