When the riot in Ephesus finally quiets down, Paul decides that it is time to move on to other places. “After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed from Macedonia”(Acts 20:1). He has words of positivity for them. They have spent a lot of time with Paul, hearing him teach and seeing him handle crises. Knowing that it will be some time before he sees them again, he encourages them to continue faithful in their service to Jesus.
He travels to Macedonia (where Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea are). “When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece”(Acts 20:2). He was previously run out of all of these cities, but now he is able to visit the Christians there and spread positivity. Surely he shares the amazing story of the riot in Ephesus. Coming to Greece likely means he visits Corinth again. “There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia”(Acts 20:3). Three months in Corinth is likely quite tense after the rebuke of 1 Corinthians.
Everywhere Paul goes, he encourages. He wants to build Christians up. Living as disciples of Jesus can be emotionally draining, yet others can help encourage us. You’re doing great! It’s worth it! God is faithful! This is not naïve idealism, but the deliberate choice to be encouraging. We can make our brothers and sisters (and ourselves!) better people when we spread gospel positivity.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Whom can I encourage today?
One Thing to Pray For: The spiritual strength to be able to help others
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