Paul called for the elders of the Ephesus church of Christ, who met him at Troas. Paul was concerned for them, the church, and the brotherhood. He wanted them prepared to do their work, even in difficult circumstances. In addressing them, he uses a figure of speech that we use to this day. He had, literally, “set foot” in Asia. The idea is that from the moment he arrived to do mission work there, he was characterized in certain ways. Moved along by the Holy Spirit, Paul could describe himself in a way that any of us should strive to have ourselves described. Notice several things that describe his faithfulness as a Christian and how it ought to describe us, too.
Paul was bolstering (18). He was present in a way that was beneficial and reassuring to others. He was with them serving the Lord in humility and tears. Notice the connection between serving the Lord and being there for others. All of us have failed in this and all of us need to do better at seeing the connection between these two. As we succeed in it, we will strengthen others.
Paul was broken-hearted (19). What a man cries about says much about him. Paul’s tears were not connected to a sports championship, a sappy movie, or even a misfortune to an animal. They were not selfish tears. He cried because of spiritual things. There should be a tenderheartedness about us in things pertaining to Christ.
Paul was burdened (19). Being a faithful Christian involves trials. Paul said as much (2 Tim. 3:12; 2 Cor. 11:28). People will try you, even if you are a faithful Christian and sometimes because of that. They will try your patience, your attitude, and your character. Paul was tested and approved by testing.
Paul was bold (20). Despite opposition and persecution, Paul would not back down from telling the truth. He knew what was right, and he knew it was right to share that and wrong to keep it to himself. He did not shrink back from profitable declarations, whether in a public setting or even in the intimacy of a private setting. Both forums can challenge our boldness.
Paul was balanced (20, 27). He told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He veered neither to the left nor the right. He did not hold back the parts he found more difficult or unpalatable. Biblical balance betrays a love for people that shares everything necessary for life and godliness.
Paul was braced (22-25). He was ready, whatever he had to face for Christ. Death was no threat to Paul, who had already faced Jews who stoned him, riots that revolved around him, or false accusations that persisted against him. He would face more of the same, but he was undeterred and prepared.
Paul was blameless (26). This is the most striking thing about Paul’s Christian walk. He could call himself innocent from the blood of all men. He shared Christ, no matter what and no matter who. What an incredible state of affairs, to have always preached the kingdom, “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2).