When Giving Up Does NOT Signal Retreat

When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. But when they opposed Paul and became abusive, he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Acts 18:5-6

Is there a time when the best of intentions we’ve had for others go south?


Paul seems to have recorded such a time in his ministry to the Jews. He’d worked hard and devoted himself to convincing them that Jesus was the Messiah, but when they turned abusive Paul was done. It was at this point that Paul became fed up with all the opposition he’d received and he rightly turned his attention to the Gentiles, who wanted and needed what he had to give.

Maybe that’s what we need to do in our lives, turn to the needy and quit trying to feed the fat.

stop sign

Jesus was the one who commanded Paul to take the Good News to the Gentiles, but being a Jew and loving the Jews as he did, it took him a little while to be done trying to help them get out of the pit they had fallen into.  In reality, he was never really done-done with them. He continued to urge them to accept Christ for the rest of his life, hoping against hope they would listen to the voice of reason and consider God’s gracious Son as Savior, but the abuse he received from them created a tipping point. The day came when he could no longer be a whipping boy for the religious zealots who lacked spiritual vision. He would forever have a soft spot in his heart for them–for surely, at one time he was one of them–but he could no longer spend his energy on them, not when they so violently opposed all that he stood for following conversion.

We could learn much from Paul’s example.

Sometimes, its time to be done with a ministry we have been pursuing.

Sometimes, its time to move on.

Sometimes, its time to listen to what the Spirit is saying, and how He is leading away from one thing and toward another.

Sometimes, He has another direction he needs us to go.

We would be wise to pray for God’s guidance along these lines.

We can ask God for divine direction.

we can ask Him for more spiritual leading.

We can let go of our old haunts and habits and get ready for a new mission…

a new mission field…

a new mission goal…

a new day full of new potential in Christ.

We can put away the old ideas, and envision a newly dawning day of difference for us.

Jesus has a project for every willing soul in this weary world.

Today, let’s focus on asking Him what that is for us, going forward.

What do you feel God is calling you to do at this time?  Are you exciting about stepping out into unknown territory?  What will you need to get you there? 


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