Dogged Determination



Acts 20:13-16
13But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land.
14And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene.
15And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus.
16For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.
17Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.
18And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia,
19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;
20how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,
21testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The blog post is a little late today. I did something I’ve never done before last night. I took the red eye back from the west coast. Our plane didn’t leave Portland, Oregon until 11pm. Then we flew through the night and landed in Detroit at 6am. I’m tired and I don’t think I’ll sign up for that flight again. It seems like a person might be able to sleep through the flight but it’s not that easy. Then you’re tired for the whole day when you get home. But, while the travel was less than fun, oh the joy we had while we were there. We got to visit our daughter, her husband, and our wonderful granddaughter. In that regard, the trip was perfect and worth every moment of the fatigue I’m feeling today.

I recount these travel details for you because we find something incredibly similar in our reading for today. As Luke serves as our historian for the mission work of Paul, we have to be struck by the detail. Luke gives us almost boring details about the travels of Paul. But I think that there might be some value to those details. They give a very human, earthy feel to the travelogue. These are real people experiencing real life. They eat, they sleep, they travel. The details mark a very normal life lived just like everyone else. And because Luke is such a detail guy he includes these facts in the story. It reads like a travelogue on numerous occasions.

What we also find in this detailing of Paul’s travels is a greater understanding of Paul’s character. He is a man possessed of dogged determination. As we read through the rest of Acts we will find that the intensity of his story picks up as he strives to spread the Gospel to as many as possible. His ability to focus is admirable and overwhelming. He is relentless in his pursuit of souls for the Kingdom. He also admits that it isn’t always easy. While we cannot call Paul a complainer, he does make note of the fact that his message is regularly and often violently opposed. Yet his determination is only picking up steam. What I know is that we don’t find him complaining because he’s a little tired after having traveled through the night. Guess I can suck it up and get back to work!

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