“But I will stay at
until Pentecost, because a great door for
effective work has opened to me, and there
are many who oppose me” 1 Cor. 16:9 (emphasis mine). Ephesus
Perhaps all candidates for admission to bible schools and seminaries should be required to write an essay about this verse as part of the application process. Better to enter your chosen (hopefully called and anointed) profession with eyes wide open, minus the rose colored glasses. Ministry isn't for wimps. Don't believe me? Ask a pastor. He/she's the one with the knife sticking out of their back.
A quick overview of Acts 19 fills us in on Paul's adventures at
Ephesus. This city wasn't just a
door of opportunity, it was a great one. The work was very effective. Many were
saved, miracles occurred and they all lived happily every after! Opps, wrong
The successful preaching of the Gospel raised up a solid core of opposition. Most don't like the status quo being disturbed and the Good News shakes things up. Paul initially preached in the synagogues and promptly received the left foot of fellowship. Undeterred, he set up shop at the lecture hall of Tyranus.
The Jewish leaders weren't the only ones unreceptive to Paul's message. The silversmiths, creators of shines to Artemis, experienced an economic recession when their client base got saved. Paul had both Jews and Gentiles mad at him. A full scale riot was avoided only when cooler heads prevailed.
Ministers must see and accept both sides of the Gospel coin. There are the exhilarating episodes when lives are dramatically changed for the good. However, usually sooner rather than later the battle lines are drawn. Be prepared to be misunderstood, misinterpreted, maligned and accused of things you have or have not done. The greater the impact you make, the stronger the push back.
This didn't stop Paul and it shouldn't stop us either. It's part of the territory. Even Jesus wasn't well received by all. As ground is gained opposition will rear its ugly head and bring its bag of dirty tricks. It's arrival is no reason to back off.
Have you attempted to follow God's lead only to run face first into brick walls? Have you been tempted to quit when stymied with adversity? Remember – GREAT opportunities come with increased resistance. Jesus has already won the war so stand firm and win your battle.