after the uproar ceased, paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for macedonia. – [acts 20:1]
he said farewell and departed
as paul traveled frequently, encouragement to the churches he visited was a vital part of his ministry.
in ephesus, paul had found both great success and strong opposition, and after an ‘uproar’ in the city, he knew it was time to move on to macedonia.
this must have been a bittersweet moment for all involved, and it is the story of the church ever since.
paul had spent three years in this city, and was like a member of their family. in these moments before his departure, paul spent time encouraging the disciples who would stay behind and keep doing the work of the gospel.
he did not give final instructions or preach a final sermon, but gave them words of encouragement. similarly, we are called to encourage one another and build one another up in the faith.
the church has continued this way for centuries. from the disciples who walked with Jesus, to this present day, we are unified as a family in Christ no matter where we may go. while some of us minister and serve in one place for long stretches, perhaps our entire lives, others are called to move on. yet regardless of distance, our devotion to our Lord and to one another unites us across the miles and across the centuries. no matter where we are, we are called to uplift and encourage one another as we go.
paul writes in romans 15:4, “whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”.
in the scriptures and from one another we find encouragement to continue the race. our challenge today is to take an opportunity to encourage another believer. if we take the time to encourage just one person today, it is likely that we will be encouraged as well.
~ jason soroski