The story so far
At the end of the last chapter, there had been a riot! Paul’s teaching had been so popular, it had upset the income of local tradesmen who made a living from making shrines. At the start of chapter 20, as this riot died down, Paul took the opportunity to quietly leave Ephesus after 3½ years there.
Reading: Acts 20
From Ephesus, Paul travelled to Macedonia, onto Greece, then back through Philipi, past Troas until he arrived at Miletus! During this mammoth journey Paul visited churches he’d previously planted, and it is believed he wrote the book of Romans.
We read that Paul’s travels were not always easy! He came up against many trials! Although he had friends, there were a lot of people who were against him too, and plans frequently changed due to enemy scheming. So whilst Paul was living out his calling – it was not easy!
As we read Paul’s farewell speech to his friends and coworkers in verse 19, we learn that despite this:
I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents
Being a Christian and living the life God wants you to live isn’t always easy, nor does it mean that all our problems go away. I love that Paul was not a quitter – he never gave up! He knew what his calling was, and who had called him. He believed so much in the message of salvation that he never missed an opportunity to share it despite the pressures around him.
Even later on when Holy Spirit showed him that he would be imprisoned and would experience suffering Paul did not retreat.
How often have we complained when things have got tough? How often have we gotten offended when people have treated us badly. Have we ever wallowed in self pity, when life didn’t go the way we hoped it would. Have we even contemplated giving up on our calling?
To go to new levels, I believe we need to be people who don’t sway in our calling, or give up, when things don’t go to plan.
Just like Paul, we need to have a rock solid conviction, and remember there is a world out there who needs us to keep going!
Contributed by Ps Hannah