Summary: The Bereans show us that a quest becomes noble when: 1. We receive the Good News with eagerness. 2. We examine the Scriptures to see if it is true. 3. We are transformed by the truth.
My favorite part of Paul Harvey is the last segment of the newscast that he calls “For What It’s Worth.” One day he gave this interesting story: “Our For What It’s Worth Department hears from Hershey, Pennsylvania — where the woman in the Mercedes had been waiting patiently for a parking place to open up. The shopping mall was crowded. The woman in the Mercedes zigzagged between rows — then up ahead she saw a man with a load of packages heading for his car. She drove up, parked behind him and waited while he opened his trunk and loaded it with packages. Finally he got in his car and backed out of the stall. But before the woman in the Mercedes could drive into the parking space, a young man in a shiny new Corvette zipped past and around her and he pulled into the empty space, got out and started walking away. ‘Hey ’ shouted the woman in the Mercedes, ‘I’ve been waiting for that parking place ’ The college-ager responded, ‘Sorry, lady; that’s how it is when you’re young and quick.’ At that instant she put her Mercedes in gear, floor-boarded it, crashed into and crushed the right rear fender and corner panel of the flashy new Corvette. Now the young man is jumping up and down shouting, ‘You can’t do that ’ The lady in the Mercedes said, ‘That’s how it is when you’re old and rich ’”
As I thought about that story I realized again that maturity does not necessarily come with age. You can be young and foolish, and you can just as easily be old and foolish. The Bible says, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly” (Proverbs 15:2). Just when I think that maturity comes with age, or that you learn to be less foolish with time, I get to the end of another day and want to kick myself for some foolish thing I have said or done. Age does not equal maturity — maturity comes in another way.
In the story we read in the Scripture today, the Bereans were a group of folk who manifested spiritual maturity. They possessed character that was marked by excellence. Paul described them as “noble.” They were engaged in a spiritual quest — an adventure, a search for spiritual truth. They were open-minded — unlike other groups that Paul had tried to reach. Instead of opposing him, they eagerly heard him. They searched the Scriptures to see if what he was saying was true, and the truth they discovered transformed them.
I have known many people who have been on quest, but they never seem to find what they are looking for. In fact, you have to wonder if they want to find the truth. I have known people who are searching spiritually, but who believe it is impossible to really know spiritual realities. Paul spoke of those who were, “always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). If you are not willing to find the truth, then your quest is not a noble one. What makes a quest noble? We can follow the example of the Bereans here. The first thing that is necessary for a quest to be noble is when: We receive the Good News with eagerness. The people from Thessalonica had opposed the message that Paul brought. In fact, they followed him from place to place stirring up trouble. It was not that the Thessalonians did not have the opportunity, for the Scripture says, “As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’ he said” (Acts 17:2-3). And some of them did believe and receive the message, but the majority opposed him, and not just a little. They stirred up a mob and hired them to spread lies. They refused to listen to anything he had to say. They closed their minds and their hearts. Paul had patiently explained the truth to them over a period of time. He reasoned with them and explained the Good News to them. And it was not just empty talk. He proved what he had to say about Christ from the Scriptures. But it was all to no avail. Their hearts were hardened to the message of Paul, even though it was great, good news. There are those who are eager to hear the good news, and those who are eager to hear bad news. There are those who are glad to hear a word of faith and hope, and those who are glad to hear a word of skepticism and doubt. There are those who delight in the truth, and those who delight in the lie.