Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Travelling With God

Acts 16:11-13
From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we travelled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. (NIVUK)

Paul knew exactly where he had to go (Acts 16:9). The destination was Macedonia and the nearest entry point from Troas was Neapollis. It was only a short journey by sailing ship, but rocky islands made the journey hazardous at night. So the apostolic team sailed to the harbour in Samothrace before sundown, travelling on to Neapolis the next morning.

The big city near there was Philippi; a leading city of culture and trade as well as military muscle. In many ways it had been secularised, apparently having no Jewish synagogue. But on the Sabbath, God-fearing people in such communities tended to meet by a river to pray. There, Paul found a number of women who were open to hearing about Jesus.

However, it was a contrast to Paul's ministry in (what is now) Turkey. There, most cities had a synagogue. Although they were part of the Jewish diaspora, they still longed to hear God's truth. That was why Paul usually went first to the synagogue. But in Philippi it was different. The city was a proud Roman colony based on prosperity and power. Even the Jewish diaspora had found it impossible to establish a place of worship. So Paul taught the women by the waterside about Jesus.

Most people like routines, and often manage projects in the same way that proved successful last time. But gospel ministry demands a flexibility to adapt the unchanging truths to the changing times and people. We cannot be gospel people and remain chained to a ministry method, however helpful it may be. We must be ready for the unexpected, and be more aware about the people we serve than the style or method of serving them. Travelling with God means that He leads and we follow; He will put us in unexpected situations so that we have to rely on Him and let Him lead.

Father God. Thank You for the ways in which You have directed me in my personal life. Forgive me when I have resisted Your leading, made ministry more difficult for others or failed to change my approach to ministry when that has been necessary. Please help me to learn how to take on the impossible when You call me and be willing to discard some ministry methods if they are not appropriate for the people You have led me to serve. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams