“After this, Paul stayed [in Corinth] many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila… And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there, but he himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer period, he declined. But on taking leave of them he said, ‘I will return to you if God wills,’ and he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there, he departed and went from one place to the next through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.” Acts 18:18-23
Paul’s life as a Christian was an ongoing ministry of ‘road work,’ marked by moving from city to city, synagogue to synagogue to crowd to new church, all the while building up people in God’s word. He boldly taught, eagerly followed the Spirit’s lead, steadfastly worked to earn his keep, never shrank from conflict. His life was not his own. He was so bent on the next right thing, right place, God’s next assignment, that even if he took thought for his whereabouts and his weariness of travel, his arduous lifestyle took a back seat to the proclamation of the gospel. (Acts 16:6-10; 18:1-4; Galatians 2:20)
“[I am] constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But 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.” Acts 20:22-24
Getting on the road may ignite an appetite for self-driven adventure, or living out of a suitcase may not be a lifestyle of choice, but for the apostle Paul, we see this mode of living as a surrendered obedience to his Lord. His purposes were high, his baggage light, his passion for truth and people warm. Whatever his former pride in notoriety, status, or accomplishment, as one who had been drastically saved from destruction, his life goals had been re-oriented. He was on God’s mission, expending every waking hour and ounce of energy to fulfill his God-given purpose, for his Redeemer God’s glory. What a model! What an inspiration! (Acts 9:1-9,15,26-30)
If we’re driven to go, are we fueled by our own plan for a distinct experience, or a restlessness in my present station? Or when the Lord calls us to go, do we complain and resist another bed, another adjustment? What needs to change for us to turn in our rights and preferences and say, Lord, whatever Your course, keep me on it?
Father, wherever You call me to be or go, whatever assignment You give, may I follow and serve wholeheartedly, with zeal and thankfulness. May Your holy word guide and inspire my every action, and flow from my mouth to give life to others. (Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:17)