Stay or Go?
Speak to me, Lord, so that when I speak to others it may be an echo of Your voice.
Read Acts 18:1-28
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When someone intensely desires to obey God’s directions, somehow God manages to get through to that person” (Catherine Marshall).
Paul had been on the move constantly; it was nine years since his last extended stay anywhere (11:26), but in Corinth he stayed for 18 months (11). It was a major city, strategically located for trade and travel, with a population estimated at between 150,000 and 300,000 and maybe 450,000 slaves. It had all the vices and issues of a large cosmopolitan city. Paul made new friends, Aquila and Priscilla, who were also new arrivals, and he worked with them in their common trade of tent making (2,3). Most rabbis had a trade by which they could support themselves, but the arrival of Silas and Timothy, probably with a gift from the Macedonian church, enabled Paul to focus on preaching again (5). At a time when ministry is becoming ever more professional, Paul’s flexibility in moving in and out of paid ministry is a challenge, not only to the way Christian workers are supported, but also to the status given to full-timers.
Despite the opposition from some Jews (6), Paul’s preaching was clearly very effective (8). Any lingering doubts as to whether to stay in Corinth were removed by a vision of Jesus. Last time he had a vision he was asked to move on (Acts 16:9). In this vision the Lord told him to stay (9,10). He would be safe (12-17) and his strategy of moving out of the synagogue and concentrating on the Gentiles would prove to be very effective. God’s guidance rarely comes far in advance, and direction to stay where we are can be just as clear—and necessary—as direction to move.
Paul’s respite from traveling was only temporary. He was about to start on another exhausting itinerary (19-23). His ministry of “strengthening all the disciples” was effective and appreciated, but it was personally costly.
Who are your closest Christian friends? Thank God for them and pray that you may be increasingly supportive of each other.
Loving Lord, every day is full of decisions to be made. I will follow Your Spirit in the assurance that the Spirit can direct my choices.
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