This chapter is one of the more emotional chapters recorded in the life of Paul. Love God, Love People – that was Paul’s life – a paraphrase of Matthew 22:37-39.
We see Paul’s love for believers as he over & over spent time with them, “speaking many words of encouragement.” Even late into the night he spent time loving them, helping them to know Jesus and even healing those who fell asleep as he spoke and fell out of third story windows – HA!
Then came his farewell to the Ephesian elders, those whom he had poured his life into. Paul humbly reminds them that he not only made the Jesus of the Bible known to people, but he lived out the call of Jesus before them as well. That often it was painful (tears) but that didn’t stop him from declaring “to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”
He continues to tell them that the Holy Spirit is leading him toward even harder times ahead. Paul’s reaction in verse 24 has become a life verse for me: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Following this he basically tells them they won’t see him anymore, exhorts them to “keep watch…..be shepherds…..be on your guard” and then commits them to “God and the word of his grace.” Wowsa – no wonder they were bummed! As tears flowed, they took him to the ship, knowing they might not see him again!
*How does it show in our actions that you & I love God & His people? Do you look forward to church? Student Ministry? Service Projects? When you are around God’s people, do you lift them up or tear them down?
*How faithful are we to go to God’s Word to find our answers in life? Or is it easier to check Google? Or some blog? We must always remember that our words, our friend’s words, our leaders words, etc… are not living and active BUT GOD’S WORDS ARE! Let’s go to THE Book for our answers!
*Finally, are you ready to die? Paul’s words in verse 24 seem to indicate he was. None of us know when our time will be up – can’t prepare for that actual day. BUT we can live now in expectation of being with Jesus. I don’t’ know about you, but I’m living my entire life to someday be with Jesus. If somehow Jesus showed up today and gave me the choice of being with Him or staying here – Sorry Jean, Drew, Jessica and students, I love you – but if I’d be soooo outta’ here!!! For what it’s worth, I don’t believe I have much time left – could be totally wrong, but I keep having these dreams. Anyway, it’s causing me to not want to waste the time I have. How about you? Let’s live for Jesus like today is our last and share Him with someone!