Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
This is how Paul was able to move on from place to place. It wasn’t that he was abdicating responsibility, he was trusting God with those to whom he had ministered. That can be a difficult call at times. Some evangelists indeed seem to care nothing about follow-up with those who “make decisions” in their services, but that’s not how Paul was. His letters show that he was deeply concerned for and about those who had come to the Lord, but as he says here, he knew that God in His grace was more than able to take care of them. It is significant that he specifies “the word of His grace,” that is, Scripture, since his own letters came to be acknowledged as fitting into that category. We aren’t in the same situation of literally writing the Bible, but we can follow up with written encouragement and admonitions of various sorts. However, the focus must always be on God and what He says. It’s not that we are to worship the Bible, forgetting the Holy Spirit who is the Author, but we are to keep it as the standard, both for ourselves and for those to whom we minister. Much of our anxiety comes from trying to be in control, effectively putting ourselves in God’s place. Just writing it out like that makes it clear how absurd it is, but we have a persistent tendency to think everything depends on us, and even want it to, for the sake of our own importance. That attitude requires repentance! God is God, and He guards and guides His children.
This is of extreme relevance to me, since I am away from my congregation for three weeks and I am concerned for my successor. The Lord has shown Himself faithful already in this period of my absence, and He is going to continue to do so even when I am gone from this earth. My task is to train the believers in feeding on the Word themselves, not depending on being spoon-fed in the services but growing in their personal relationship with God. I am to keep myself personally faithful, listening obediently to the Holy Spirit and trusting God with absolutely everything else, because He’s smart and I’m not, He’s powerful and I’m not.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for how You have been demonstrating Your faithfulness throughout this trip. I pray that Your perfect will may be done in every detail, both here and in Omura, so that Your kingdom may indeed come, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!