Compelled by the Spirit

“And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. Acts 20:22 (NIV)

Have you ever gone to a place solely on account of God’s will? Or maybe taken a decision only because you were persuaded it was what God wanted? An action without benefit or profit for you, one that you have to take at great risk to your life or possessions – would you ever take that kind of action? This is what we hear Paul say in the verse above. Let’s look a little closer…

Paul was bidding the elders of the Ephesian church farewell. Convinced he would never see them again, he gave them parting words, sharing his commitment to preaching the gospel as he went from place to place. Although he lived with a lot of uncertainties, Paul knew one thing was sure – prison and hardships awaited him as he spread the gospel. Yet he was was unwavering. He was set for the defence of the gospel, willing to complete his God-given task at any cost.

Just like his master Jesus, Paul was headed to Jerusalem, knowing the danger that awaited him there, but convinced that he was being led there by God in fulfillment of purpose. He was ready to embrace pain, hardship or even death, that could become his fate as he headed to Jerusalem. He no longer counted his life dear to himself neither did he strive to preserve it – he only lived to obey the Lord’s command and follow his bidding. Like Jesus, Paul was sold out to God – a willing slave.

The lesson is clear; the application is challenging; the demand, unwavering. God wants our all – a total commitment to obeying his commands and doing his will regardless of the cost to us. Although He works with us at every stage to accomplish his purpose, God always desires for us to become more yielded by the day, letting go of everything until like Paul, we too can say, with full devotion and complete sincerity: “I consider my life worth nothing to me”.

Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13 (NIV)

Further Reading: Acts 20:17-24, 21:10-14

A Requirement for Stewards

Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2)

The simplicity of the statement above belies its depth. Apostle Paul earlier mentioned that he should be considered a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God. Then he mentions, as a matter of fact, that faithfulness is a requirement for stewards. It is indeed logical, that a steward should be found faithful. The real question is, “What does this mean for us as believers today?”

A quick word on stewardship: it is the bedrock of intentional and meaningful living. Understanding that we have nothing we did not receive, and that we are accountable to God for everything we receive from Him, helps us steer the course of our lives in the most profitable manner. Like Paul, we too are stewards of time, relationships, money, divine mysteries, and many gifts and graces imparted to us by the Lord. We are accountable to Him for what we do with all we have received.

On faithfulness, I am persuaded it is one of the most significant traits the Lord desires in the saints (who are all called to serve). That ability to stay true to what we have been asked to do and to do it with fervor, with or without glamour and fanfare, is priceless. It requires first, that one recognizes what he/she has been called to steward, just like Paul. It also requires that one possesses a commitment to finish the task regardless of how challenging it might appear.

Faithfulness in our lives is often challenged, on the one hand, by distractions, and on the other hand, by difficulty. We may be distracted by the attention we get while serving, or we could get from doing more “exciting” tasks. This requires focus on the task we are called to. We may also be discouraged by the difficulty of completing our assigned tasks, or the trials that come as a result of our service. This requires grit to stay the course as we continue our stewardship.

Both challenges described above require that we draw upon the grace of the God who calls us to serve Him as stewards in various capacities. God gives grace for us to stay faithful to our races. We must recognize our need for Him daily and commit to being faithful to our course – only then would His grace be available for us to stay faithful as stewards to the One who called us. Amen

P.S.: Seeing as this is my first post of the year, Happy New Year to all my dear readers! I wish you a prosperous and fulfilling New Year ahead!! Godspeed!!!