Perhaps our ministry plans don’t necessarily have to be made without any consideration of our personal wellbeing. It’s hard to operate when there is something causing our spirit not to be at rest (2:13). The making of ministry choices is clearly more complex—and God more gracious—than needing to choose the path that is hardest for us to endure (i.e. the path of the apparently greatest sacrifice).
Every now and then when I’m reading the Bible, I have a bit of a “huh?” moment. Like I did recently with 2 Corinthians 2:12–13:
When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
Can you see the “huh?”
We know how committed the apostle Paul was to preaching the gospel. He kept going with it even in the face of all sorts of terrible challenges and hardships (2 Cor 11:23–27). But when he came to Troas, he noticed “a door was opened for me in the Lord”. That sounds pretty positive, doesn’t it? But what does he mean?
Paul has used a similar expression in his earlier letter to the church in Corinth: “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries” (1 Cor 16:8–9). So it seems like when the door is opened by God, it doesn’t necessarily mean all opposition ceases, but it does suggest that gospel fruit is being seen—the gospel preaching work is showing signs of being effective. People were, presumably, becoming Christians.
But, curiously, Paul decides to leave Troas. He shuts the door that God has opened there for him. Huh? What could possibly have convinced him to walk away from this fruitful and effective gospel preaching opportunity? It must surely have been something pretty big and important.