“Of Mice and Men!” Troas and Ephesus! What’s the difference? Part Three

PAULContemplating the necessity that precipitated the changing of Paul’s plans reminds me: It was the Scottish bard Robbie Burns who created the phrase, “Of Mice and Men.” It is only four words out of a very long sentence in one of his poems. The poem is humorously entitled, “To a Mouse,” and was actually written in 1786. I clearly remember, in my youth, my English Literature teacher attempting to read the poem to a small class of four of us, using as broad a Scottish accent as he possibly could, pretending to be the great poet. For my none-UK readers, Robbie Burns is to the Scottish people what Shakespeare is to the English, or Goethe to the Germans. For those who are not au fait with any of the writings of Burns, it is a remarkable truth (at least to the English) that he wrote, quite literally, in his broad Scottish accent. Although they are hailed as the work of an utter genius, some of his writings are almost unintelligible to the contemporary conformist English eye and ear. Being an old English Etonian from the South of England, my English Literature Teacher’s accent was even funnier than the poem.

The creative need for Burns to write the poem, “To a Mouse,” came from his incidental destruction of a mouse’s winter nest whilst ploughing a field. The poem is a verbal apology written to the poor mouse made both homeless and vulnerable because of: 1. its “dream home” being dissipated by an earthquake that was an astronomical 122 on the Richter scale (i.e. Burns’ deep plough), as well as: 2. The agenda that the mouse had planned for hibernating in the cold, long, dark nights of Scotland’s winter, being shattered in a single moment of time. The poem describes how the, “Wee, cowering, timorous beastie,” plotted and planned to stay warm in the snow, making his nest in this field, only to have the whole idea overturned by Burns himself. To express it in, “English English” (as opposed to Burns’ “Scottish English”), Burns states, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and leave us nought but grief and pain.” The grief and pain that came to this “wee beastie,” came also to the mighty apostle in great severity. He also made his plans for winter, and, oh, how the apostle was left with grief and pain! It was an emotional plough that overturned Paul’s winter plans. The apostle’s plans were for a safe house throughout the cold period, but … The anxiety of what was happening at Corinth caused him to change his plans again and again.


So what happened next?


It was extreme anxiety that caused him to drop everything and leave Ephesus, and that same anxiety (although undoubtedly increased with time) was what took him from Troas. He had no rest in his spirit, in Troas, because he did not find Titus his brother. It is logical to deduce and extrapolate that if he left the two places hurriedly, in quick succession, and he plainly states why one of the departures was made, that the template for leaving the second port of call (Troas) was the same motive for which he left the first port of call (Ephesus). His mental anguish was grounded in his eager anticipation of for news from Corinth via Titus, his delegated mouthpiece, on this occasion, to Corinth (2 Corinthians 2:12-13).


The entire, “Saga of the church at Corinth,” must have been mammoth to Paul. Try to imagine what the Corinthians were doing to Paul’s patience, troubling his soul in such a way. Their attitude and correspondence, together with the news from the ministers that Paul had delegated to visit Corinth must have tortured his heart as well as his mind. As Paul brooded over the scenario, so the issue grew in its importance both to Paul, as well as to God. It seems the more Paul communicated with Corinth, the worst things were getting. He would, seemingly, resolve some issues, and thereafter hear of other issues raising their ugly head over the parapet, matters that were even more complex and damaging to the overall work of God in the church in Corinth. What is more, it had transcended issues of principle and had now degenerated into personal abuse of the apostle. He was being accused of ungodly conduct and misleading the people. Paul grew more and more disquieted and uneasy until, in a remarkable intolerable oppression of spirit, he felt that he could no longer continue to preach to the lost in Troas, and so he left for Macedonia, so desperate was he for knowledge of the response from Corinth.  This is amazing to my mind!


Part Four Next week

About Keith Lannon

Loving Christ more everyday.
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, DIFFERENT STROKES, Different Strokes - Managing the Miraculous, SHARING STRUGGLES , Shaping Spiritual Solutions!. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “Of Mice and Men!” Troas and Ephesus! What’s the difference? Part Three

  1. Father Paul Lemmen says:

    Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.