Christianity 201

July 28, 2018

Final Words

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

This appeared last month at DailyEncouragement.net. Stephen and Brooksyne Weber told the story of a friend who, in his final blog post wrote, “We may not be in contact with you again on this side of eternity. But remember that if you have placed your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord, we will meet with you again in heaven.”

They then continued this theme…

Ending Well

“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face” (Acts 20:25).

…Of course that’s true, in a sense it’s always true, for we never know when our time with those we love will be over.

It also brought to mind Paul’s words in our daily text. He is saying farewell to the Ephesian elders after his ministry among them in a very moving sermon (Acts 20). Early in the message he informed them, “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face”.

As Paul prepares to finally leave we have these words,

“When he (Paul) had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship” (Acts 20:36-38).

One lesson I learned early in life and have sought to practice all the years following is to “end well”. I believe this should apply to all our relationships in life, especially our spiritual ones. Our daily verse may seem a bit unusual without its fuller context. Paul had just preached a dynamic sermon to the Ephesian elders, a moving and challenging farewell before his trip to Jerusalem. (I have used this portion of Scripture in bidding farewell on our final Sunday to each church I’ve pastored.)

After his message they knelt and prayed together and “they all wept as they embraced him and kissed him.” Can you picture the emotions of those gathered with Paul in this setting? Have you had similar experiences in life? I hope so.

What really moved the group to tears was a statement Paul had made in the sermon that he would never see them again (v. 25). Consider how we would react in the fellowship transactions of life if we knew we would never see someone again. Normally, except in the case of gathering around a deathbed, we anticipate that sometime in the future we will meet together again, especially in our day of modern communications and transportation.

I’m sure we would go to extraordinary means to express our love and to show how much that person has meant to us if it was a final good-bye. The fact is, we really don’t know when we bid a loved one “farewell” whether we will see them again (at least on this side of eternity). I don’t want to sound morbid, but it’s a fact of life. Live in such a way that those who mean a great deal to you will know of your love and appreciation, not just during farewells.

Thankfully, Paul did keep contact with this church through his letter to the Ephesians!

 

 

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