This passage could be studied from a few different angles. It is often studied in reference to leadership training, since Paul was giving instruction to the elders of Ephesus (the hub church of the whole region of Asia) on how to be good spiritual shepherds of God’s people. While that is a noble study, and you should definitely put those lenses on with this passage if you are in any kind of leadership, today we will broaden the scope a bit and look at it through different lenses.
In many ways these could be considered Paul’s last words. At the very least, he believed this would be the last time he got to speak to these elders. Paul knew that he was about to face a very difficult situation in Jerusalem. It was very likely that the people in Jerusalem would kill him. Think about it. How would you feel if you knew that there was a city where everyone (at least the people with the power) wanted you dead? Would you want to go there? Would you have faith in God? Paul did. The point of this lesson is simple. Read v. 24 again. This is a picture of Matthew 6:33 lived out. Jesus told us to seek first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness. Paul did that. Paul was not concerned for his own well-being. Paul was not concerned about how people felt about him. Paul was simply concerned about being obedient to the calling that God had placed on his life. Later, after Paul was eventually placed under house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial, he wrote these words to the church in Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)
How is your attitude today? Ask God to search your heart and expose to you where your real concerns lie. Let’s set our priorities straight and live for the Kingdom of God.