Missionary Evie “Granny” Brand was 68 years old. Her mission board told her she was required to retire, but when she begged they granted her one more year in India. At the end of that year, she did retire . . . then stayed on independently for another 24 years! During that time, she evangelized hard-to-reach mountain villages, dispensed needed medicine, and rescued abandoned children. She died in 1974.
Evie had an unquenchable passion for the gospel. So did the apostle Paul! In today’s reading he rejoiced that “a great door for effective work has opened to me” (NIV) or “a door of great opportunity stands wide open for me” (NET) (v. 9). He used this expression much as we might today, to indicate an “open door” of opportunity or favorable conditions. As another example, he asked the Colossians to pray that “God may open a door for our message,” even though he was imprisoned at the time (Col. 4:3).
Open doors are often seen as God-given opportunities. When Paul and Barnabas reported back after their first missionary journey, they said, “God . . . had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). Apparently, though, this didn’t mean one was obligated to walk through every door. Paul wrote that “the Lord had opened a door for me” in Troas, but he left Troas after not finding Titus there (2 Cor. 2:12–13). He highly valued all his ministry partners, including Timothy and Apollos (vv. 10–12). Interestingly, Paul also seemed to view the presence of opposition as part of the open door (v. 9). In other words, if Satan and the world were responding negatively, God must be at work in this strategic place! His exhortations to faith, courage, and love show how to respond and reveal keys to success in ministry (vv. 13–14).
>> What doors for sharing the gospel has God opened in your life? Have you been looking for them or knocking on them? Is doing so a high priority for you? If we don’t know what to say, God can give us the right words (Luke 21:15; Eph. 6:19).