What a difference two weeks makes. When I left the States to lead a study tour of Greece and Turkey, Moammar Gadhafi was still defying rebel attempts to capture him and take complete control of Libya. This morning his remains are on display at a meat market.
Our group had a wonderful experience visiting Turkey, as we noted the growth of their economy and relative stability of their culture. We returned Saturday night–Sunday morning an earthquake devastated the country and could kill as many as 1,000 people.
Greece has long been one of my favorite places to visit. The history and culture of this ancient land are breathtaking. But this was a difficult trip–archaeological sites were closed due to strikes, trash was piled up in Athens as sanitation workers refused to work, and there was a pervasive sense of crisis. European leaders met over the weekend, their 13th summit in 21 months to deal with debt in Greece and across the Eurozone.
No one in the Bible gets a five-year plan. When Paul began his second missionary journey, he had no idea he would take the gospel to lands we call Greece and Europe today. But when he was “kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia” where he intended to work, his strategy turned to confusion (Acts 16:6).
Then came one of the pivot points of human history: “During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us'” (v. 9). Macedonia was modern-day Greece, a completely different continent with its own culture, customs, and people. To our knowledge, Paul had never traveled there before in his life. If the Lord were to call me to preach in Siberia, I would not be more surprised than the apostle was that day.
But “after Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10). As a result, the gospel came to Europe and eventually to us. Christians in America can trace our spiritual lineage directly to that moment when Paul surrendered his plans to the only purpose that matters.
As you know, I read each morning from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest. Yesterday he stated, “There is only one thing God wants of us, and that is our unconditional surrender.” This morning’s reading adds: “We are here to exhibit one thing–the absolute captivity of our lives to Jesus Christ.”
There’s a Macedonia in your future. Your service is not completed until your King calls you home. Can Jesus send you anywhere today?