As we follow Paul through this journey from place to place in the Greek world, we are reminded of our own journey through life’s moves from home to ministry assignments that have placed us in different cultural settings. We knew, without doubt, when God told us to go and when to stay. To know is to know God. To hear the call is to focus on the Master, Jesus Christ. To see what lies ahead is to lean fully into the Holy Spirit who empower us with wisdom to make the changes in us that are necessary for each task. Some assignments, we ask, “are You sure, Lord?” Others were obvious. Some assignments were excruciatingly tough on us physically and emotionally, but to refuse God would have been even harder.
Through it all, God was with us. He is still with us. He promises to never leave us. Count on it. Paul did. As Paul preached in a land of evil running rampant with selfish living, God gives him helpers in Aquila and Priscilla. They became a tireless triad of testimony about Jesus. They made a living of making tents while in ministry until more help arrived. Sometimes in ministry you have to fall back on your trade and that’s okay, too! That’s why I’m teaching at present. Does our ministry to encourage others stop? Nope. We keep on wherever we are, being whomever God ordains us to be until He moves us on in His time for His purpose. I love that about God. By following His will, in gratitude, through it all we can have peace in all circumstances. This is what we learn today from reading God’s Word of HIS ACTS in this world HE created.
Acts 18, The Message
18 1-4 After Athens, Paul went to Corinth. That is where he discovered Aquila, a Jew born in Pontus, and his wife, Priscilla. They had just arrived from Italy, part of the general expulsion of Jews from Rome ordered by Claudius. Paul moved in with them, and they worked together at their common trade of tentmaking. But every Sabbath he was at the meeting place, doing his best to convince both Jews and Greeks about Jesus.
5-6 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was able to give all his time to preaching and teaching, doing everything he could to persuade the Jews that Jesus was in fact God’s Messiah. But no such luck. All they did was argue contentiously and contradict him at every turn. Totally exasperated, Paul had finally had it with them and gave it up as a bad job. “Have it your way, then,” he said. “You’ve made your bed; now lie in it. From now on I’m spending my time with the other nations.”
7-8 He walked out and went to the home of Titius Justus, a God-fearing man who lived right next to the Jews’ meeting place. But Paul’s efforts with the Jews weren’t a total loss, for Crispus, the meeting-place president, put his trust in the Master. His entire family believed with him.
8-11 In the course of listening to Paul, a great many Corinthians believed and were baptized. One night the Master spoke to Paul in a dream: “Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out. He stayed another year and a half, faithfully teaching the Word of God to the Corinthians.
12-13 But when Gallio was governor of Achaia province, the Jews got up a campaign against Paul, hauled him into court, and filed charges: “This man is seducing people into acts of worship that are illegal.”
14-16 Just as Paul was about to defend himself, Gallio interrupted and said to the Jews, “If this was a matter of criminal conduct, I would gladly hear you out. But it sounds to me like one more Jewish squabble, another of your endless hairsplitting quarrels over religion. Take care of it on your own time. I can’t be bothered with this nonsense,” and he cleared them out of the courtroom.
17 Now the street rabble turned on Sosthenes, the new meeting-place president, and beat him up in plain sight of the court. Gallio didn’t raise a finger. He could not have cared less.
What we learn? God is with us. We dare not trust the Master, Jesus, the Messiah…
“Keep it up, and don’t let anyone intimidate or silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you. You have no idea how many people I have on my side in this city.” That was all he needed to stick it out.
Dear Heavenly Father, All I can say as I remember the many times You were with Randy and I at every turn, through every move we made, is thank you. And You are with us, still. You are amazing. You are God and we follow You with all that is in us. We see You in all we do. We expect You to be around every corner. We trust in You alone. Thank you. Be with us, still…
In Jesus Name, Amen