Dear Friends in Christ,
“I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:20-21).
On his way to Jerusalem, St. Paul stops in a port city called Miletus and meets with the elders of the house churches of Ephesus. Both Paul and the Ephesian elders know that this will be the last time that they will ever see one another. Paul had spent three years in Ephesus discipling these leaders, helping them, proclaiming the Gospel to them, and teaching them publicly.
You might recall that when Paul first arrived in Ephesus he began preaching and teaching about the Kingdom of God in the synagogue. Paul is eventually forced out of the synagogue and moves to the Lecture Hall of Tyrannus. For over two years, Paul teaches publicly (and daily), so that all the residents of the community, both Jews and Greeks, hear the Word of God (Acts 19:8-10). Paul must have been a great teacher.
Teaching is a gift from God (Romans 12:7b), and teachers are a gift from God. As you think back on your formative years, I’m sure you can recall teachers who took the time to notice, to care, and to invest in you. Those teachers made a difference, and helped you become the person that you are today. As you think about those remarkable teachers, I encourage you to offer a Prayer of Thanksgiving on their behalf. And I also encourage you to prayerfully consider in whom you might invest. Is there someone in your circle of influence who might benefit from your caring, your wisdom, and your guidance?
It’s over 60 miles to travel by land from Ephesus to Miletus. That’s a long walk for the Ephesian church elders to make, yet they made it. They wanted to see Paul. They wanted to bid him farewell. And they wanted to hear him teach the Word of God one last time. “When he had finished speaking, he knelt down with them all and prayed. There was much weeping among them all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, grieving especially because of what he had said, that they would not see him again. Then they brought him to the ship” (Acts 20:36-38).
Teaching is a gift from God, and teachers are a gift from God.