But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, even though many oppose me. 1 Cor. 16:8
I used to ride a road bike on the country roads of Indiana. I almost always planned my route by the wind. I wanted to try and finish with it at my back. I didn’t always gage the wind correctly, but one thing was certain, there was nearly always wind. How I navigated it became the important thing.
In the verse above, Paul describes his decision to stay in Ephesus because “a great door for effective work had opened” there. He celebrates this chance to advance the gospel. Then come the words at the end of the verse, “…even though many oppose me.” I’m struck by just how much of an after-thought that statement seems. Paul was so focused and excited about the opportunity that had arisen, that it appears he never really considered not staying in Ephesus. He acknowledged the opposition, but he did not give it more consideration than it deserved.
When we take forward steps in life there is always wind. Sometimes we are able to anticipate it and other times it seems to come from unexpected places and people. This can be especially true when we are on a venture with God. This is where our Enemy wants to sidetrack us. He uses endless tactics to keep us focused on the obstacles not the opportunities. If we aren’t careful, we give those obstacles far too much credence. In our minds we act like God has been taken off guard and is now in over His head. Wrong! If God has called us to the work, then He is in the work with us.
Any venture in life worth doing will have unexpected bumps and turns in the road. If we have not considered that, then we have not done our due diligence. I don’t think Paul was surprised that many opposed him. But for him, the cause in which he was engaged made everything else secondary. Where he was headed was worth the pain of getting there.
What a great lesson for us. Our focus needs to stay firmly on the road ahead and the possibilities there. Don’t give opposing forces more power than they deserve.
Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them. – Orison Swett Marden
Live this week on purpose,