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  • Sarah Beth Dippel



Today's first reading blows me away.

Paul is speaking to the Church of Ephesus before he leaves for Jerusalem. He knows this is the last time he will be with them. His final words are powerful and inspirational and apply to us today just as well as when Paul first spoke these words to the Church.

I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. (Acts 20:29)

Let us not forget that the devil is prowling around out there. His tricks are old and boring: distract you and me from the truth. Scatter the flock so that we feel alone and lost. Stay close to the shepherd. Remember,

"The closer we are to the shepherd, the safer we are from the wolves." - Jarrid Wilson

Now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated. I have never wanted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. (Acts 20:32-33)

The things of this word are of little value to a friend of Christ. Silver and gold are not the inheritance we seek. Let the word of God penetrate your hearts that you may come to know and love the Lord.

You know well that these very hands have served my needs and my companions. In every way, I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:34-35)

Knowing and loving the Lord calls us to serve the Lord. As followers of Christ, we desire nothing so much as bearing fruit for Him. The Lord is not Superman; He doesn't want to save the world single-handedly. He allows us a share in His work. It would mean so little to us if salvation was handed to us on a silver platter. Instead, the body of Christ works together for the kingdom of God. Each of us fulfilling some part that the others cannot. The flock must stay together, serving the Lord by serving one another in truth.

Yes, that reading should lead us to weep just as it lead the Church at Ephesus to tears when they said farewell to Paul that day. May Paul's teaching inspire us.

Stay close to the flock and know the voice of your shepherd.

Listen to the word of God so that you may be built up in the faith.

Love and serve one another so that through the Holy Spirit,

the people of God may be united as one Church to the Lord.

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