A Moving Farewell

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Acts 20:17-38

I remember a farewell supper with my parents before I moved away. The evening went all too quickly and then it was time for hugs and tears. That was nearly twenty years ago, but a sad feeling still returns when I recall that event. The story of Paul’s tender farewell to the Ephesian elders in Miletus is such a reminder.

Paul had a solid relationship with the Ephesian Christians. It’s an example of the friendship that ought to exist among believers, including pastors and parishioners. Paul also had no guilt in these relationships. He kept short accounts with people, making apologies when appropriate. He was able to say goodbye with no regrets.

Paul’s primary goal was not earthly relationships. Were that the case he would not have set his course for Jerusalem, knowing he would probably never see his beloved Ephesian friends again. His first goal was to do God’s will.

Thankfully, grief at parting in this world is tempered by our hope of eternal life. We can joyfully follow God’s leading, even when it leads to sorrowful good-byes because we know we will see one another again.

PRAYER

Father, help me to have good relationships, but not to cling to them at the expense of doing your will.