Open or Closed? Thursday, December 26th 2013
"And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews."
In Acts 18, Paul is in Corinth trying to minister the Gospel to the Jews in the synagogue. Repeatedly, Paul's message is rejected by the Jews. Realizing that the door was not open for him to minister to the Jews in Corinth, Paul decided that from then on he would go to the Gentiles. Later in the chapter, we see Paul in Ephesus ministering again to the Jews in the synagogue. Paul realized that the door was not open for him to minister to the Jews in Corinth, but was open for ministry to the Gentiles. Now in Ephesus, he finds the door open to preach to the Jewish people for a short time prior to leaving for Jerusalem.
Sometimes you may have on your heart to do something, but the time is just not right. What do you do at those times? Do you force the door open or do you stand there and wait? Do you notice doors the Lord has opened, or do you wait only for the Lord to open that one door? Often we get so distracted by the fact that one door is closed, that we overlook all of the open doors.
"Wait just a minute... this can't be right. How can this door be closed," we might say. "It was open five minutes ago. I've seen others go through it. There must be something wrong with the hinges! Certainly, God would want me to go through this door. After all, I've seen others go through it, and I have way more experience going through doors. Maybe if I stand here long enough, it will open back up." All the while, the doors of ministry that God has opened are closing.
We see here that Paul did not force the issue. He waited for the Lord to open the closed door and did not ignore the door that was open. When the Lord opened the door for Paul in Ephesus, Paul walked through it. Paul was both willing to do it, and he was willing not to do it. This is important in following and serving the Lord. You need to be willing when the door opens, but you also need to be willing when the door shuts. It will end up that Ephesus will be one of the healthiest growing churches that Paul starts. What if he had tried to kick the door down on God? It would not have gone well.
One of my frequent prayers is, "Lord, open the doors you want opened so that no man can close them and close the doors you want closed so that no man can open them--Lord that includes me." Charles Spurgeon once said, "By perseverance the snail reached the ark."
Life Lesson: Wait on the timing of the Lord to open doors.
Thank You for both the open doors and the closed doors in my life. Please forgive me for the times that I have tried to force open a door that You have closed. Please give me a willingness to serve You no matter where the door You open for me leads. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Living to tell what He died to say,
Pastor David McGee
Cross the Bridge
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