On one of Paul’s missionary journeys we was heading into the province of Asia, fully intending to preach the gospel there and plant churches as he had done in other places—a fine goal. But an odd thing happened at the border of Mysia: “They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas” (Acts 16:7-8) That night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia, standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (v. 9). “After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them” (v. 10).
Paul’s plan wasn’t so rigidly structured that he was unwilling to change direction when the situation warranted it. He maintained flexibility and listened to the Lord for new directions.
We all know of ministries that have set themselves on an inflexible course, and then have been unwilling to change when the circumstances and opportunities have demanded it. Sometimes this type of rigidity is mistakenly called “faith.” Invariably, ministries that are unwilling to change and reset their course slowly lose relevance and die, not recognizing that God may have wanted to redirect their efforts toward a different purpose.