Read: Acts 20:17-38

And there was much weeping on the part of all. (v. 37)

Goodbye is a contraction of the phrase “God be with ye.” I remember standing in a circle under the wing of a small plane in the African bush. A missionary was saying goodbye to the little group of believers from the church he had planted in that tribe. When he finished speaking, we sang. “God be with you till we meet again . . . till we meet at Jesus’ feet.”

The tears shed on the beach of Miletus as Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders bear eloquent testimony to the love that can connect a pastor and people. They were “sorrowful most of all,” Luke reports, “because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again.” Of course, they would see each other again. But not until they met at Jesus’ feet.

The bond between this pastor and these people was deep. Paul invested more time in Ephesus than anywhere else during his missionary travels. He had spent that time preaching and teaching God’s Word to them—all of it to all of them. “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (v. 27). For Paul the ministry of the Word was the main thing.

In a day when churches are expecting their pastors to be many things—therapists, administrators, entrepreneurs, entertainers—it is good to remember the main thing. A pastor, after all, is a shepherd—that’s what the word means. And Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” —David Bast

Prayer: Good Shepherd, equip and empower my pastor to feed your sheep.