Date: Saturday, August 10
Scripture: Acts 20:13-38
Verse: Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. (Acts 20:28)
Goodbyes are hard. From time to time we find ourselves standing in the driveway with good friends who are moving, outside of a dorm room in mid August, or standing over a grave surrounded by loved ones. We know we are not going to be together for quite some time. We will grow while we are apart. Good times will be celebrated and difficulties will come, and we will not be sharing them together. It is difficult to say goodbye, but helpful when we say it well.
In today’s reading, Paul returns to a community where he had lived for three years – a long time for him. God had changed Ephesus through Paul’s ministry and the response of the people (see Acts 19:1-20). Afterwards, he had gone on to the surrounding region, but now it was time to return to Jerusalem. Paul knew he would not be making the journey back to the continent, so on his way out of town, he stops by to say goodbye.
In Paul’s parting words he launches the Ephesian church leaders, giving them responsibility for the church there. By endorsing them as those “which the Holy Spirit has made…overseers, to shepherd the church,” he empowers them to lead, and continue the ministry they had learned through him. This is another example of Paul’s intentional work to set up the next group of leaders. He truly was the humble leader he describes in verses 18-19. Paul was all about pointing people to Jesus instead of himself – even when he was saying goodbye.
May we become as intentional as Paul in building up leaders who will continue the work we have started long after we have said goodbye.
Prayer: Thank you, gracious God, for the people you have put in my life who have shared your Good News with me, and who have empowered me to continue that work. Amen.
Action: Spend some time remember those to whom you have had to say goodbye.
Respond: Have you known someone who said goodbye well? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.
Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son.