[To the Ephesian elders, Paul continued,] "And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.
"I have never coveted anyone's silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"
— Acts 20:32-35 NLT
Paul made it clear that church leaders could and should be supported for their efforts,* but he was always mindful of the challenges that church leaders faced. Some of those challenges had to with temptations to be selfish and self-serving. Other problems and challenges had to do with the dangers of false teachers who could lead away weak followers of Jesus and with criticism and persecutions the leaders may face personally for following Jesus. Paul spoke to each of these issues in his message to the Ephesians elders because he knew that he would likely not see them again before his death.* He wanted them to be fully prepared for their future leadership without him! Paul's example raises a crucial question for each of us: Am I preparing future generations so they can live and lead in faith after I am gone? Paul taught disciples to live for their children and grandchildren in faith so they would pass on their faith to the next generation (2 Timothy 2:1-2).
O Father, please do not let my faith die with me. Use me, inspire me, and empower me to pass on my faith in and commitment to Jesus to future generations who can pass it on to others. I ask for this power and grace in Jesus' name. Amen.