Layover in Miletus
Holy Spirit of God, thank You for bestowing grace on me and new life within me. May my life from now on be a sign of my gratitude.
Consider: "We must learn to soundproof the heart against the intruding noises of the public world in order to hear what God has to say" (Gordon MacDonald). That's cultivating a private world pleasing to God.
I attended Houghton College, a Christian liberal arts school in rural western New York State. One day word came that Francis Schaeffer had a three-hour layover in the Buffalo airport and was open to meeting with Christian leaders in the area. A delegation from our college hurriedly made the long drive to see the world-renowned theologian; they knew they'd never get another chance. That's a little like what's going on in today's passage. While stopped for a layover in Miletus, Paul has invited the leaders from Ephesus to meet him. Ephesus was a significant ministry location for Paul (Eph. 1:15,16), but this was to be his last visit to the area, so it was an important meeting.
What motivated these Christian leaders to make the trek to Miletus? After all, Paul was a pretty good letter writer so they weren't likely to lose touch. The answer has two parts. First, they respected the integrity of Paul's life. Paul wasn't a "pedestal Christian"; he had lived with the Ephesians through hardship and tears; they knew what he was really like (18). That's how Jesus operated too; it's called incarnational ministry. The starting point for an effective public mission today is cultivating a private world that is pleasing to God. No one goes to the airport to see a spiritual phony.
The second reason these leaders went to Miletus was they accepted the truth of Paul's message. As we learned yesterday, Paul wasn't a flashy speaker (Acts 20:7-12; 1 Cor. 2:1-5), but he more than made up for that with the clarity of his message: "turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus" (21). Paul never lost sight of his God-given mission and message (24), and that's what made him such a compelling evangelist.
Write down two or three ways in which you could "soundproof your heart" in order to hear God more clearly. Now pray about them.
Lord, help me silence the competing voices so I can hear Your compelling voice. I want to live a life pleasing to You.
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