“When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus” (Acts 18:5).
Pastor have no shortage of issues with which we are occupied. Sermon preparation, hospital visits, counseling, leadership, strategizing, vision casting, meetings, encouragement, etc. And, no, I’m not sending out invitations to a pity party–far from it. But I’m continually amazed as I’ve read through Acts over the past week how laser focused Paul was in Macedonia.
Focused on what? He was “occupied with the word.” He was occupied with telling others about Jesus. When the Jews refused to hear, being occupied with other matters of less significance, he shook out his robe and proclaimed that he would go to the Gentiles. He was occupied with the word–and if those to whom he continued to preach refused to share that occupation as listeners, he moved on.
The aforementioned occupations listed can all be accomplished without this preoccupation with the Word. I can visit, counsel, oversee staff, cast vision, meet, and encourage–all without the Word even being in the neighborhood. But that’s not my calling ultimately. My ultimate calling is to be, in reading further in Acts, “competent (KJV: mighty) in the Scriptures” (Acts 18:24). From the Scriptures flow the issues of the life and the church.
Pastors (and Christians, mind you) easily find themselves preoccupied with other things. But a pastor’s primary preoccupation is with the Word, which emboldens for the truth, and softens the heart toward those away from truth. God is more than capable in accomplishing what He desires (Isaiah 55:11-12).
What’s your primary preoccupation? What steps will you take to be occupied with the Word? What’s keeping you from doing so?