“Then they all wept freely and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him” (Acts 20:37).

He was barely scraping by. As a young preacher in a small parish in rural England, John Fawcett received a pittance from his mostly poor congregation. Although parishioners often gave him wool or potatoes, with four children, the long winters were often lean. But the faithful Baptist pastor continued building up the congregation of farmers and shepherds.

One day John received a call to pastor a prestigious church in London. He and his wife, Mary, accepted the invitation and packed their few be- longings. While loading a cart, members gathered around to say goodbye. Many were weeping, pleading with them not to leave. After a time, they changed their minds and decided to stay—for fifty-four more years! From this experience, John is said to have written the words to the famous hymn, “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”

When the apostle Paul was completing his last missionary journey and heading for Jerusalem, he stopped to visit churches he had helped establish. While in Miletus, he called for the elders from Ephesus to come see him so that he could bid them farewell. In his final exhortation to these beloved Christian leaders, Paul told them that they would “see my face no more” (Acts 20:25). The Holy Spirit had indicated to him that “chains and tribulations” (verse 23) awaited him.

After Paul’s final words, the group knelt and prayed, then arose and said goodbye. Tears flowed freely as the church elders embraced their much loved teacher. They did not want him to leave. But despite the forebodings, Paul was determined to visit Jerusalem. He was eventually arrested, sent to Rome, and finally died a martyr for his faith.

Whether God calls us to stay or go, we can be assured by some of Paul’s final words written from a dark dungeon: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

“Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love! The fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.”

For Further Study: Acts 20:17–38; Numbers 6:24–26; Eccl. 3:1–8

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay up to date with what is happening at
Amazing Facts Oceania