During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ (Acts. 16:9)
Paul dreamed about the “man of Macedonia pleading” with him while he was in Asia Minor. Although the distance between Asia Minor and Macedonia was only a few hundred miles, this trip was one of the longest Paul ever took. The “man from Macedonia” wasn’t simply asking Paul to sail a short trip across the sea. He was asking Paul to travel to a different continent, people, and culture.
Would Paul always have had more work to do in Asia? Of course. Could he have ignored or resisted hearing the need in Macedonia? Yes.
What, though, could have happened if Paul didn’t heed the vision? Would the gospel have ever gone to Europe and then to the rest of the world?
The world could have been a very different place, and so many people could have missed hearing about Jesus if Paul hadn’t done the following: “When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia…”
The people from Macedonia are still calling to Jesus’ disciples. In this context, Macedonia isn’t in Greece. No, Macedonia is the new place, the new work, and the new persons to whom we can share the gospel of Jesus.
Will our work for the gospel ever be finished wherever we might find ourselves? No. But if we don’t answer God’s call to branch out, just imagine what could be lost.
When I left parish ministry and went to work in downtown Houston, I felt like I was moving to Macedonia. I was in a different land, culture, and role. Would I have ever completed all I could do in the church? No. But was there new and other work to be done? Yes. New people to reach? Yes. A new mission field to serve? Yes.
We like our “comfort zones.” There are, though, some problems with our preferring what’s comfortable. First, God’s work often isn’t comfortable but difficult and challenging. Second, we don’t have a “comfort zone,” Lord.
Is Jesus calling us to a Macedonia? If so, I encourage us to follow Paul’s lead. If we do, just imagine what may be gained for so many.
- What is a Macedonia—that is, the new place, the new ministry, the new mission—that God could be calling you to? Will you heed His call?
- How do you respond to my saying, “We don’t have a comfort zone, Lord?” Are you filled more with dread or with excitement?
- Remember a time when God called you out of your “comfort zone.” If you accepted the calling, what did you learn? If you made excuses why you couldn’t honor God’s call, what happened to your faith?