Acts 20 gives us a picture of Paul’s travel schedule. He is moving from place to place and on the road continually being faithful to his calling. A few days here, a few there, but continually listening to the Holy Spirit and moving toward his final trip to Jerusalem knowing that “imprisonment and afllictions await me”. Is that how you would be living knowing that bad things (at least in the world’s eyes) are just ahead? Or would you pull a Jonah and run the other way? I ask myself that question regularly. Am I living God’s way or do I detour when that path seems to lead me to difficult situations? Paul had his eye on the mark. He was doing exactly what he was being led to do. We should follow that example.
He does not cut short his efforts either. Paul was with the people and in Troas “he prolonged his speech until midnight”. No shortened version because the end was coming. He gave them the full load of words and wisdom. In fact, it was more than some of the folks there could stay tuned in for. “A young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead”. Poor kid couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. God used this for good as Paul brought the young man back to life, but the thing that amazes me about this story is what Paul does after the slight disruption. Remember he has already extended his speaking until midnight. Now a rather major event pops up and totally disrupts things. Check this out: “he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak”. Paul doesn’t shut things down because some unexpected major event happens. In fact it just winds him up for a second wind to keep going – til daybreak. That is endurance and staying singleminded to the task he was called. Paul was there on a mission. He was there to teach the truth. And nothing derails him from that. How many of us would sit all night and listen to anyone speak – Paul or not? I know it would be more than a challenge for me to stay there. It is tough to get people today to give up an hour for worship on Sunday morning.
Paul gives us a glimpse of his approach to teaching and sharing the truth here as well. “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks”. He taught in public to large groups – so used the one to many approach. He taught from house to house – so used the one on a few or one to one method too. Paul wasn’t too big a star to touch people one at a time. He did what it took to testify to anyone who would listen. He was not bound by any kind of preconceived approach. He did what it took to share truth. And he did it with one goal in mind. This is how we are effective. When we come to the same goal as Paul has – we too will be true ministers of the gospel. “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God”. Is that how you live life? Focused not on self, but finishing the race and the assignment we have to testify to the gospel. That is our calling. We are God’s messenger. We are His hands and feet. We are His chosen way to share Jesus. Are you living like Paul did – totally focused on sharing with those in your patch? And sacrificing life to expand that patch so you can impact even more people? That is what we need to do!