Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Acts 20:17-38 (NRSV)
From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. When they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews. I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me. But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace.
“And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again. Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to warn everyone with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the message of his grace, a message that is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions. In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship.
It’s very difficult to say good bye to those we love, especially if we know that we will not see them again in this life. How much more difficult to say good bye without the assurance that we will see that person again in God’s kingdom.
Paul was on his way to Rome, where he knew he would face persecution and imprisonment. He had stopped to say good bye to some of his friends along the way. Paul told them that if they failed to believe in Christ, it was not his fault. He had done all he could to tell them about Christ and his sacrifice for their (and our) salvation.
How often do we hesitate to say anything about a relationship with Christ to friends or loved ones for fear of offending them? Then something happens and we never see that person again. Our failure to speak up, to share our faith, may have kept that person from finding a relationship with Christ.
God gives us opportunities to share our faith, but we have to be open to them and willing to respond. With whom do you need to share your faith? How will you do so? Have you been praying for an opportunity? Don’t wait; do it today.
Lord, open our ears and our hearts to your voice and to the needs of those around us. Give us strong voices with which to share your story, and let us be faithful in doing so. Amen.
Go with God.