17 保羅從米利都打發人往以弗所去，請教會的長老來。18 他們來了，保羅就說：「你們知道，自從我到亞西亞的日子以來，在你們中間始終為人如何，19 服事主凡事謙卑，眼中流淚，又因猶太人的謀害，經歷試煉。20 你們也知道，凡與你們有益的，我沒有一樣避諱不說的。或在眾人面前，或在各人家裡，我都教導你們。21 又對猶太人和希臘人證明當向 神悔改，信靠我主耶穌基督。
22 現在我往耶路撒冷去，心甚迫切（註：原文作「心被捆綁」），不知道在那裡要遇見甚麼事。23但知道聖靈在各城裡向我指證，說有捆鎖與患難等待我。24 我卻不以性命為念，也不看為寶貴，只要行完我的路程，成就我從主耶穌所領受的職事，證明 神恩惠的福音。
17From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
- In his farewell to the elders of Ephesus, Paul describes himself as “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears.” The Spiritual Formation Bible has the definition of Service as: loving, thoughtful, active promotion of the good of others and the causes of God in our world, through which we experience the many little deaths of going beyond ourselves.
- What impresses me the most in Paul’s commitment to the Lord?
- How can I follow Paul’s example of service to “promote the good of others and the causes of God in our world” this week?
Prayer & Journaling:
Stay with God for a little longer. Continue to converse with God and listen to what he wants to tell me. Then write down any thought and/or prayer in the 2011 “Spiritual Journal” book.
Family Time (Begin this time by reading the passage above using a children’s Bible.)
Paul obviously had a clear sense of purpose in life. What is it (vv22-24)? What is your life’s purpose? Allow everyone to share. Write them down in your Family Devotional Journal. What training or experience will you need to achieve your life’s goal? Will the family need to make some sacrifices to help you achieve that?