Unstoppable! 'Plans Matter Less than Love' — Acts 20:13-17

Thursday, September 26, 2024

Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus.

Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn't want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

— Acts 20:13-17 NLT

Key Thought

Paul was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem before the Festival of Pentecost. Pentecost was the anniversary of the birth of the church by the power of the Holy Spirit.* He also wanted to get to Jerusalem quickly with the gift given by the Gentile churches for the Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ.* However, loving on the people and leaders of the churches Paul helped to start in the Roman province of Asia was more important to him than his own agenda.** Love for his brothers and sisters in Christ was always more important than his personal plans! In the crush of all we feel that we need to do for God, we must never rush past the God-thing to do: Love each other!

* See the first set of Related Scripture Readings.
** In addition to Paul's personal relationships with the Christians in the places he ministered, a major aspect of his love for them was his concern for their faithfulness. As we will see in the remainder of the 20th chapter of Acts, Paul's love for the church and elders in Ephesus led him to tell them goodbye since he expected not to see them again, to remind them of his example, to alert them that he would be imprisoned, and to give them some final instructions and warnings.

Today's Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you for being an example to me about what love is and what love does. Forgive me when I become so task-driven that I neglect loving my brothers and sisters as I should. I ask you, Holy Spirit, to convict me when I make my plans more important than the needs of a brother or sister. Father, I want to love those who are your children by faith, just as you do. Please help me as I seek to live out this priority in my life. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Acts 2:1-47, 24:17; 1 Corinthians 16:1-4
  • 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; John 13:34-35

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Illustration

Illustration of Acts 20:13-17 NLT — Paul went by land to Assos, where he had arranged for us to join him, while we traveled by ship. He joined us there, and we sailed together to Mitylene. The next day we sailed past the island of Kios. The following day we crossed to the island of Samos, and a day later we arrived at Miletus.

Paul had decided to sail on past Ephesus, for he didn't want to spend any more time in the province of Asia. He was hurrying to get to Jerusalem, if possible, in time for the Festival of Pentecost. But when we landed at Miletus, he sent a message to the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him.

About This Devotional

Unstoppable! is a one-year devotional guide through the book of Acts. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage, a reflection and a prayer. The reflection opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges one to live for Jesus.

Unstoppable! is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.