Friday 22 May 2015

Bible Book:

“You know for yourselves that I worked with my own hands to support myself and my companions.” (v. 34)

Acts 20:17-38 Friday 22 May 2015

Psalm: Psalm 15


In this passage Paul is both looking into the future andreflecting on his past ministry as he prepares to travel toJerusalem for Pentecost. He has no idea what might happen to himthere but suspects that trouble is in store. So he wants to takethe opportunity to give a sort of farewell address - that is why hehas called some of the church members from Ephesus to Miletus.

Paul outlines his own practice as a guideline for what followingJesus Christ means and seeks to warn those who will have charge ofChristian communities of the sort of difficulties they will face.Paul warns people against the "savage wolves" (v. 29) who will tryto destroy the communities after he has gone, including some, evenfrom within the communities, who will try to distort the truth.

As with Jesus in his high priestly prayer which we read on Sunday, Paul commits those who have been inhis care to God. He then speaks about his own lifestyle as anapostle of the gospel - one in which he never coveted money orpossessions but worked for his living, never being a burden on thechurch communities and always seeking to help the weak.

The end of this passage shows Paul on his knees in prayer andthe gathered leaders distraught at the thought that they might notsee him again.

To Ponder

  • Do we still need to be aware of "wolves" who may try to destroyour church community from without or within? Have you ever hadexperience of this, and what learning came out of it?
  • Paul was at pains to tell these church members that he hadearned his own living (as a tentmaker as we learnt on Wednesday) and had not relied on collectionsfrom church communities. His practice has given rise to the term'tent-making ministry' meaning self-supporting ministry. Should webe emphasising this more in preference to our supported,stipend-receiving ministry? Why?


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