Acts 16: 1-8
Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek. The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.
Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
Words of Hope
In today’s Scripture reading, we see Paul enlisting the help of Timothy to join him on his second missionary journey. They delivered the Apostles’ letter from the Jerusalem conference to Saints in Phyrgia and Galatia. The Holy Spirit directed Paul and his companions to bring the gospel to Macedonia. Throughout this text, we learn how to discern what God wants us to do through the work of the Holy Spirit.
First, we seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit; this according to Acts is best done in community as in, ‘when they were all in one place.’
Second, is to focus on the work of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit directs Paul and Timothy to be among the people in order to do the work they have been called to do.
Third, one must nurture their spirit to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Scripture shows us this is done through community, study of the word, and counsel from our elders.
Fourth, the Spirit equips us. Each of us are given various spiritual gifts to enhance the kingdom of God. One could also say the Holy Spirit equips us with a passion. As a pastor once said to me, “What makes your heart happy is where your passion resides.” These are words that I have been reflecting on a lot lately.
Another thing we learn is the importance of receiving the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we serve God. God is still speaking to us every day, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the redeeming presence of Jesus are there to change and motivate our lives. Are we listening?
Dear God, we give you thanks for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. For the ways you used Paul and Timothy to teach us more about the ways you speak to us every day. Give us the courage to listen faithfully to you and courageously respond. Amen.