In God’s Care
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
The apostle Paul understood the heartache of leaving people he loved. During his missionary journeys he established at least fourteen churches and preached in at least forty different cities. In each place, he made contacts and cultivated friendships.
In the thirteen letters preserved in the Bible, Paul mentions dozens of coworkers. And the scriptural letters likely represent just a fraction of the ones he wrote during his lifetime.
So yes, he knew much about making friends and leaving them behind when he traveled to another place. One of the most poignant partings is recorded in Acts 20. Paul had already left Ephesus, but from Miletus he sent word to the Ephesian elders to come visit him. And they did.
The Ephesians had depended on Paul for three years as he ministered among them. They probably wondered how they could possibly remain strong and committed without his guidance. But Paul knew that they needed to depend on God and His Word—the true source of strength. Paul had just led them to God’s banquet table. They had to remain at the table and depend on Him for their sustenance.
Paul warns the Ephesians that “savage wolves [false teachers] will come,” seeking to destroy their church and extinguish their faith (v.29). “Be on your guard,” he says (v. 31). But he also encourages them, saying, “I commit you to God and the word of His grace” (v. 32). The Greek word for commit is paratithemi, which means to entrust to someone else’s care for protection and safety.*
Sometimes God calls us to leave behind people and ministries that are dear to us. God has asked my family and me to do that. We move forward with both joy and sorrow. Like Paul, I commit the ones I leave behind to His care because “he is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).
Is God asking you to leave something or someone behind? A job? A home you love? A church family on which you depend? A child in a college dorm? Commit those loved ones to His care.
Read Acts 20:18-35. What did Paul advise the Ephesian elders to concentrate on? How did he encourage them?
Paul uses the word “finally” in the conclusions of five letters: 2 Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 6:10, Philippians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and 2 Thessalonians 3:1. What similarities do you see in his “final” words to these churches? What do you think Paul’s final words to you might be?
Read Psalm 91. We may move to a new place physically, but our spiritual address should remain the same. What are the benefits of living on Shadow of the Almighty Drive?
Have you committed your life to God? Do you live under His care and protection? If you’d like to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, see How to Know God on the sidebar.
Denise K. Loock