But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me. 1 Corinthians 16:8
I love Paul’s language here, he says he’ll stay because a great door for effective work has opened to me. I’ve always tried to go where God is opening doors for me. Sometimes I’ve tried to force doors open, and I’ve felt God close the door. There are examples in Acts 16:6 where it says, “Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia.” We have to know the difference between a good thing & a God thing. In Acts 15:28 it says, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements…” I love the language they use about including the Holy Spirit in their decision making process. I remember John Wimber once saying we need to be careful with our language throwing around phrases like, “God told me…” etc it can make others feel awkward if they disagree about what people believe God told them. So maybe words like, “I feel that the Lord is showing me.” Or “I feel I have a prompting from God,” because no-one hears from God 100% perfectly, and we should always test everything & hold on to the good. And we need to be open to correction if we are off the mark. God does speak to us directly, and through his word, and also through others & many ways of confirmation. But we ought not to throw the baby out with the bathwater & question a prompting from God too much. I’d rather try to follow God and miss it occasionally, than never try at all because of fear of getting it wrong! Often we learn the most when we’ve made a mistake.
One day we will stand before God & be rewarded for the good works we have done. We are not saved by works, but saved to do good works. John Bevere says we will be judged not on what we did, but on whether we did what God called us to do. When it all comes down to it, the question will be, were we obedient to God’s call? And were we effective? Now some have been given different amounts of talents, but the question will be were we faithful with what God placed in our hands. Effective might mean obvious fruit, that people will see, or it could be hidden fruit. Matthew 6:1-4 says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” It’s living for an audience of one that matters.
Lord, help me discern your voice & obey your call. Open the right doors & close the wrong doors, may I be effective for you! In Jesus Name. Amen.