Text: Acts 24:25 (NLT)
…Felix was terrified. “Go away for now,” he replied. “When it is more convenient. I’ll call for you again.”
Paul was on trial before Felix, the governor of Caesarea, because of a supposed riot he had been accused of starting by some Jews from Jerusalem who wanted to see Paul dead. The background of this story is found in Acts 22-24.
What’s interesting for me in this passage is that we are told that Felix is familiar with the “Way” which Paul belonged to (the Christian church, Acts 24:22) and a few days after the trial (before a decision had been made) he invited Paul to come and visit with him and his wife Drusilla. The text says that they listened as Paul told them about faith in Christ Jesus. Paul told them about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come. We are then told that Felix became terrified and sent Paul away until a more “convenient” time.
Verse 26 says that Felix hoped that Paul might bribe him (for his release perhaps?) and so he sent for Paul quite often and talked with him. How long did this go on for? Well according to verse 26, two years! Two years went by where Paul would quite often visit with Felix (while still a prisoner) and talk about Christ! Yet, it seems that Felix never believed (or wanted to believe).
The phrase, “When it’s more convenient” really stuck out. There are so many people today who would rather consider the claims of Christ and his followers at a more convenient time. Certianly not in the now, or today while things are okay! It is truly sad that often the “convenient” times are when people are in the midst of crisis or tragedy. It’s even sadder when that convenient time never materializes because people die before believing the gospel.
Another facet of convenience is that many people don’t want to hear about or consider the “way” of Jesus Christ because they are afraid of the implications in their lives. So many people are quite happy with the condition of their life that they don’t want any “religion” (even though it’s not about religion) to mess with the status quo. In this case, “when it’s convenient” is really saying “sounds to uncomfortable to me”.
Finally, I can’t ignore the frequency of this phrase in my own life (and I’m sure many other Christians would be guity of this as well). Whether its a side-effect of the comfort and blessings of living where I live, or if it’s just plain old laziness, there are times when I choose to excerise the disciplines of my Christian walk, “when it’s convenient”. The sad thing is, what I think is an inconvenience is necessary and I’m missing out on good stuff. It’s like any relationship, for a relationship to grow there are times where you don’t want to visit with someone or talk with someone or invest in the relationship because it seems “inconvenient” but in reality that time spent and investment you make would be the best thing you could do and would turn out to be really enjoyable and fulfilling. So many of us miss out on the blessings of a more intimate and fulfilling relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because we’re just waiting for “when it’s more convenient”