S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 16:5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia—for I intend to pass through Macedonia— 6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may send me on my way, wherever I go. 7 I do not want to see you now just in passing, for I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits. 8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
O (Observation): Paul trusts the Spirit to guide him. He has a clear purpose: share the Good News. But the strategy and the implementation of that strategy are guided almost completely by the Holy Spirit.
Paul is listing out his travel plans to his brothers and sisters in Christ in Corinth. He points out that a “wide door for effective work” has opened up for him in Ephesus. The Spirit is opening the pathway for him to walk along. He serves the purpose he has been given, and he does this most effectively when he follows the grace poured out for him by the Spirit.
A (Application): While we do the “hands and feet” Kingdom work, the Spirit is also constantly at work, preparing folks’ hearts and minds to receive the Good News. No speech or tactic is in and of itself the factor that causes people to believe. Rather, the Spirit guides this process. The Spirit prepares people’s hearts and minds.
The Spirit lays out a pathway for us, a roadway lined with vision and grace…and the Spirit has all the time in the world. So the Spirit will wait for us.
This pathway is a gift from God. The pathway may lead where our hearts are already going; or where our minds are going; or where both heart and mind are headed. And sometimes we get off that path. Sometimes we are WAY off that path. Or maybe we only recently took a wrong turn.
This pathway is where our spiritual gifts lie in wait, ready to be used for the good of the Kingdom. We need only to take the abiding time necessary to discern what gifts we are to use, when to use them, how to use them, where to use them.
In all of this, the Spirit is busy guiding us and giving us hope that – no matter the circumstances – a wide door for effective work awaits us.
P (Prayer): Spirit, guide us. Grace us all the way back to the path. Amen.