In Acts 20, the apostle Paul gives his final words to the leaders in the church of Ephesus. In doing so, he describes the Christian life as being like a watchman.
Paul says, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men” (Acts 20:26 nkjv). What does it mean when Paul says he is “innocent of the blood of all men?”
In the book of Ezekiel, the Lord impresses on His servant the importance of his role:
Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, pass it on to the people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, “You are under the penalty of death,” but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible, demanding your blood for theirs. (Ezekiel 3:17-18 nlt)
In ancient times, cities would have large walls around them to offer much-needed protection. On those walls would be towers that would be even taller. There, the watchman would position himself to keep an eye out for any potential dangers. For instance, if an enemy army was approaching, the watchmen would have the trumpet sounded to warn the people.
What a serious calling it was to have this role. The watchman had to stay awake and alert, paying careful attention. He had to be faithful, not fearful, because the safety of many people rested with him.
This is the most sobering of the terms Paul used in Acts 20, showing that the sharing of the gospel is not something we are to do in a casual manner, or when we are “in the mood.” This is something of extreme importance.
In the same way, we are to be watchmen too. We as Christians are all called to lovingly warn our friends if we see them in any spiritual danger. This would not only be those who do not yet know the Lord, but also Christian friends who might be misled or overtaken by a sin.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in the church of Galatia and said, “Dear friends, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself” (Galatians 6:1 nlt).Let’s all seek to be faithful watchmen in our world today.
Out of their long and painful journey has come a really helpful survival guide, so to speak. It’s a book called Suffer Strong: How to Survive Anything by Redefining Everything. It’s not just an inspiring story of triumph through trials but a how-to book for accepting God’s plan and recognizing His providence even when it feels like your world is shattered.