Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. But some became stubborn, rejecting his message and publicly speaking against the Way. So Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia—both Jews and Greeks—heard the word of the Lord. Acts 19:8-10 (NLT)
How many of us have been part of a church or religious group and had discord (soft way of saying arguments)? I have in the past and it is not fun. It's amazing to me that we as saints can get into it with each other over things that really aren't about the Kingdom of God at all!
Now this post isn't meant to go after religious institutions or religious people. We are all a work in progress and God isn't finished with us yet. I praise his name for that! I still have a lot of growing to do! What did strike me about this text though was how Paul handled it. It sounds to me like they were having discord and the impression you get is that it was kind of intense. What did Paul do? He changed locations. He didn't stop doing what God told him to do. He just moved to where there was less resistance.
He didn't get side-tracked with the distraction of folks who aren't working with the Holy Spirit. In other words, he kept what he cared about in his sights and let the rest fall away. He was listening to the Holy Spirit and let him guide the process instead of getting stuck trying to fix it himself.
All too often we try to do God's work for him. We try to convince someone against their will to make different choices. We say things that we aren't supposed to say or we say them at the wrong time. If only we would listen to the Holy Spirit when we deal with each other instead of trying to fix things ourselves. Only God knows when a person's heart is ready to hear him.
Paul ended up staying in the new location for two years. Guess there was a lot of work to do there. Guess the Holy Spirit knew that! I wonder what would have been lost if Paul stayed and tried to change the minds of the folks who weren't yet ready to hear God. Thank God we'll never know.