November 28 (Daily reading: Acts 18-19) We read recently that Paul, at the beginning of his second journey, had wanted to minister in Asia (16:6). After meeting Aquila and Priscilla and working with them as tent makers in Corinth, Paul traveled to Ephesus, which is in Asia. He spent some time there, reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue. They wanted him to stay longer in Ephesus, but he declined, saying, “I will return to you again if God wills” (18:21). This is where he had tried so hard to go, and then he turned down the offer to stay! What was the difference? Paul had learned that serving God is not only knowing His will, but also His timing. He knew that God was in control, and that He would lead him into Asia if, and when, He chose. This gave him confidence to say that he would be back if it was God’s will.
Did that ever happen? After spending some time at his home base in Antioch, Paul began his third missionary journey. He went from church to church, “strengthening all the disciples” (18:22-23). His journey led him back to Ephesus. He had a three-month ministry in the synagogue, “reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God” (19:8). The Jewish opposition became too strong, so Paul and the other disciples in Ephesus began discussions in a lecture hall. “This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks” (19:10). Luke summed up Paul’s ministry in Asia: God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul … So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing” (19:11, 20). God’s way is always the best way! We are encouraged by the truth that God special plan for us includes His perfect timing!
– Al Gary