Paul’s ministry was about letting the outsiders in – he had been called to preach to the Gentiles and today’s passage tells us more of the work of Paul’s team and their obedience to God’s direction. This is a short passage, but full of meaning.
Paul had a vision of a Macedonian man begging him to go to Macedonia and help them – he tells his team, and they go to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together after a time of uncertainty – travelling hither and yon and being blocked at every turn by the Holy Spirit.
Are we in a similar position in the UK – preaching to an increasingly ‘pagan’ land? How can we be open to God’s direction? Sometimes it can feel easy to hear God – perhaps through the words we read in the Bible. It can also feel hard to hear God, like for Elijah, who expected to hear God in the drama of nature but instead found Him in a ‘still, small voice’.
We need to be seekers, looking for what God is doing in and around us, but to also be still and listen. We need to work with humility – it’s not about us, it’s about getting the gospel out there and helping people believe they have a future.
Discernment is often not clear-cut and we sometimes search in the wrong direction – as Paul and his followers did originally. It’s God’s mission we are doing, not the Church’s and the call could be into areas we have not considered and perhaps shy away from.
Dear Lord, help me to know the work You want me to do and give me the means to do it.
by Sheila Gibbon
North Shields & Whitley Bay Circuit
Church Member at Cullercoats Methodist Church