He walked for miles. His legs tired, sandals worn, and body full of aches from his travels. Despite how his physical condition may have bogged him down, he continued to press on remembering how he was once blind, but now could see. He wanted others to feel the scales fall from their eyes and rejoice in the knowledge left to us after the ascension of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul was determined to make it back to Jerusalem for Pentecost and met up with Luke and others aboard a ship in Mitylene to rest his weary feet. He chooses not to stop in Ephesus and sailed by the city. But his heart remained with Ephesus and after arriving in Miletus, Paul, I’m sure hard pressed by the Holy Spirit, changed his mind and felt the need to speak to the church at Ephesus. Paul sent a messenger with an invitation to the elders of the Church in Ephesus to please come to Miletus and meet with him.
Based on: Acts 20:13-17
Some of you might ask,
“What does this have to do with the state of the church and how we as the church (believers in Christ Jesus) need to “step it up” and love each other better?”
Let me tell you…it has everything to do with loving one another inside the church walls and beyond! What caught my attention most was that Paul sent a messenger and invited the elders from the church in Ephesus to come to Him. When is the last time you sent an invitation by word of mouth or by mail asking for someone to come to your home? How about just calling someone to meet you for a cup of coffee, tea, or maybe lunch? Fellowship my friends, is something we cannot do without. How can you know the needs of another unless you have communication? How can another pray for you if you never speak your needs?
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I am also struck, after some research; it was not easy for the messenger to get this invitation to the church at Ephesus. The messenger would have had to cross the gulf by boat and then continue on foot by land and then back! The same said for the elders at Ephesus once they received the invitation. But, with what seems to be no hesitation, the elders in Ephesus went to see Paul immediately for Paul only spent one night in Miletus.
It is so much easier for us to send or give an invitation today! We have phones and the internet which make people easily accessible not to mention the transportation systems available to us! Why do we not take more time to get to know one another and invite each other into fellowship?
It’s all about relationship folks! Even our Lord Jesus Christ invites us into fellowship with him!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Do you see and hear an invitation here from Jesus?
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him”
Not only must we invite others into fellowship we must also receive an invitation from another giving the invite our top attention and priority. It is so easy for us to allow the things of this world to consume us. We give excuses of little value as compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing better our Abba and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul even stated in Philippians 3:8.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”
My hope and prayer for all is that one might not live this life without receiving Jesus as Lord. One way I might help those who may not know the Lord is to share my own faith in a more personal way…inviting another to fellowship with me. There’s that word again…invite! I don’t have to slam the person with scripture or legalistic judgmental damnation, but I would do it in such a way that love abounds and joy overflows even during trials. In this way, it might bring a person to question me why I am the way I am…to which I would respond,
“God made me alive with Christ. It is Christ in me the hope of glory.”
Colossians 2:13 & Colossians 1:27
Many of my friends all over the United States know fellowship is important to me. I miss some of them dearly and miles have separated us. I’ve always said that fellowship is the only thing that we can take from this world to heaven with us. I figure the more people I get to know here…the more I’m going to know in heaven. What a comfort and cause of celebration when I will be reunited with those who have gone on before me and those I don't get to see as often!
“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”