“And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship” (Acts 20:22-38).
Today’s Morsel: Saying goodbye can be hard for many. When I was in the military, it became harder and harder to say goodbye to those I had served with and had come to know so well. The military, like the church, is a big family. There are often lots of tears, hugs, handshakes, and words of encouragement when that day and time comes for your departure. We have farewell dinners and lunches to send people off. We usually recognize them for the job they’ve done, say good things about them, and give them awards and plaques. We may even tell some of their errors and bloopers and how they contributed to the organization. All to say goodbye. In today's reading, Paul’s departure from his coworkers was not easy. He gave them words of encouragement and admonition, he reminded them of his time with them, and also of the things they were to do that they had seen him do. Then he prayed with them and they all wept together. Then went to see him off. Saying goodbye to such a man as Paul was not easy for him or them. They understood the value he had been to them. How do you say goodbye to those you love or work with? The way to deal with goodbyes is to remember the good things that others have done and commend them to God. In order to hear well done there, we have to say goodbye here.
Sing: If we never meet again, on this earth my blessed friend, if to God we have been true, and we’ve lived above all sin. Then for us, there’ll be a greeting, for there’s going to be a meeting, I’ll see you in the rapture some sweet day.
Thought For Today: In order to hear well done there, we have to say goodbye here.