No Couch-Potato (Acts 20:17-21)

Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:18–21, AV)

The term “couch-potato,” is often used to describe people. The term refers to a lazy or inactive person. It is one who might spend all day laying on a couch and watching television. When I look back on my life, I remember weekends, when I was off from work, being a couch-potato. This would happen particularly during the football season. I would sleep in late. Shortly after noon, I would turn on the television and watch the college football games. The routine would repeat itself on Sunday. (Of course, the routine changed when the Lord saved me.) I would often assess my weekend and feel a bit like a failure. I mean, I spend roughly 48-hours of time without accomplishing anything. Oh, I was busy, but essentially did nothing.

From an engineering standpoint, work equals force times distance. When you sit on a couch all day, not moving, no work can be accomplished. Yet, there are also people who do all kinds of strenuous things and still accomplish nothing of any substance. For instance, you can push a lawn mower around the yard all day long, but if you do not start the motor, while technically you exerted energy, you did not accomplish any profitable work.

The Apostle Paul was not a couch-potato and he was not one who wasted his energy either. He worked hard and profitable. Here he meets with the Ephesian elders at Miletus and in his opening statements with them, we see how energetic and profitable he was in ministry. First, we see that he served the Lord with all humility. Paul served with a humble submission and dependence on the Lord.

Paul further remained steadfast in his service in spite of the struggles and trials of the ministry. These were especially fierce through the plots that the Jews made against him.

In the midst of all the struggles, Paul was busy serving the Lord. He did not hold back in declaring to the Ephesians everything that was advantageous for them to know, teaching them the truth of God. You can imagine that with Paul’s understanding of Scripture that this would have been a monumental task in itself.

Beyond this, Paul went house to house testifying to both the Jews and the Gentiles regarding the gospel. He preached regarding repentance and faith in Jesus.

Paul was a busy and profitable servant of the Lord. He sets the example for us of one who was not a Christian couch-potato. We all could benefit from grasping the energy and focus of Paul. Granted, each of us are in different vocations. Some God has called to work in retail, some in manufacturing, some in various other areas and some in full-time ministry. Yet, we are all to do the work of ministry (Eph 4:11-12). Scripture teaches us to “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time” (Colossians 4:5, ESV). Ministry is a most profitable work. It is good for us to examine our routines. Are we making the best use of time? Is our work truly profitable?

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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