“…Come over…and help us.” (Acts 16:9)
Have you ever thought you wanted to do some particular something, but for some unexplainable reason or other things just never fell into place properly for it to happen? Have you ever had a specific plan in mind but then it became quite obvious that God had a different agenda planned? Learning to be sensitive to the Lord’s leadership is perhaps one of the hardest skills we learn as His children, yet it can be the most rewarding. Nothing is more fulfilling than to realize that you have worked in harmony with God to accomplish his divine design.
In the 16th chapter of Acts Paul shares of one such experience in his life. I really wonder if God had to let Paul flounder for a bit because of a poor attitude. Paul had proposed to Barnabas that they return to the churches they had helped to establish earlier. Barnabas was agreeable and thought that they ought to take John Mark with them. Paul didn’t like the way Mark had deserted them on their previous journey and refused. A sharp contention arose between the two so they ended up parting ways at the time.
Three lessons quickly come to my mind:
Paul and his new partner Silas, visited some of the churches. They took on Timothy as the replacement for Mark. Then they thought they would launch out into a new work. But they started toward Asia where Ephesus and Hierapolis would be, but God shut the door. Then the KJV says they “assayed” to go into Bithynia. I don’t know about you, but I don’t “assay” much that I’m aware of, so I had to look a little closer at the word. That word in Greek is “peirzao.” It means “to test through the idea of piercing.” So you might say a fair translation of “assaying” would be that they “took-a-stab-in-the-dark” at Bithynia. They weren’t really sure which way to turn. They had no clear directive from God. They were struggling to understand His will. But again, God closed the door.
I can just imagine by then, that Paul was beginning to do some heavy duty praying. He had never been more unsure of himself in all his life. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Paul didn’t (right then and there) fall on his knees to confess and ask God’s forgiveness for his part in the big blow-up with Barnabas. We do know that immediately after that, God gave a vision to Paul at night of a man of Macedonia asking him to come over and help them.
Paul turned toward Europe rather than toward Asia. Think for a minute. You and I might not be Christians today had Paul not heard from God at that precise moment!
Now I say all of that to say we are launching out into a new year. There are all kinds of opportunities to be used of Christ to build His kingdom, but you and I need to be sensitive to His directives.
As a result of SPLASH I am now getting numerous “Macedonian calls” throughout the year to “come over and help us.” Right now I have an eighty-six year old lady awaiting a handicap ramp. I have a couple needing some help with a roof. I have a hospitalized lady needing work done on her home before she can return.
Most recently, I have had a request from the Healing Hands Clinic for people who are willing to prep and paint and perhaps remove and replace carpet and/or other type flooring.
I need to know of individuals and church groups who might be willing to take on some of these opportunities as they arise. And of course with every one of those opportunities should come an opportunity to share the love of Christ and the gospel message.
Have you heard the Macedonian call today? If so, could you call and let me know. Then we’ll see if we can’t connect you with a mission inspired by the Lord.