Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. ~Acts 20:31
Whenever we enter into a contract, purchase real estate, purchase insurance, incur a debt, or agree to a medical procedure, we want the terms and conditions of what we are getting into in writing. We want full disclosure of what we are agreeing to, risks, exclusions, and limitations. We do not want any surprises after the fact, or hidden clauses of things we did not agree to. Paul unbundled his heart in his farewell address to the elders at Ephesus. He reminded them that the ministry he had among them was full-disclosure. Nothing was held back. As he shares his heart, he impresses on us the elements that are necessary for a full-disclosure ministry.
We see the testimony.
“Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews.” Paul had a consistent testimony the entire time that he ministered among the Ephesians. They saw a man who was humble in his service. They saw a man who was hard working in what he did. They saw a man who ministered with a heavy heart, day in and day out. He died to self and gave 110% every day. He demonstrated a Christianity that was intense, involved, and with integrity.
We see the tenacity.
Tenacity is having perseverance, persistence, and determination. For three consecutive years, Paul plugged away at preaching, teaching, making disciples, winning souls, and building a dynamic church. Setbacks did not deter him. Sickness did not deter him. Struggles did not deter him. Sometimes, we feel like the people we are serving want us to let up and not be so aggressive and determined. However, the church that pleases God must have members who are possessed with a God-infused tenacity for doing the important facets of ministry, and for doing it well. Don’t stop being compassionate! Don’t stop winning souls! Don’t stop praying! Stay determined and tenacious.
We see the tears.
Tears are indicative of being overcome, emotionally. This can be as a result of hurt, sorrow, happiness, or stress. For a Christian, tears are indicative of our burden, our heart, and our desire. “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5). Paul shed many tears at Ephesus. He had tears when he witnessed, preached, and counseled. He had tears at all times of the day. Tears tell those we minister to that we love them and are concerned for them. It tells them that they are very special to us. Do you shed tears for sinners? Do you shed tears in your praying? Do you shed tears when you are helping someone who is going through a difficult trial?
We see the tenor.
He warned them day and night. A warning implies a word of caution and carefulness. He knew that after he would leave to start more churches, the Ephesians would be at risk of attack from grievous wolves from within and without. A warning is when we send an alarm. We tend to listen more intently when a warning is given. A full-disclosure ministry must sound the alarm that Jesus is coming soon, and that we must do all that we can to win more souls, train more disciples, and send out more missionaries.
Paul was full-disclosure. He held nothing back. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded him to do. Be careful that you do not fall into complacency and let things break down. Give it your best, and give it your all!
Have an all-out God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Judges 13-15