Acts 20:13-16 :
But we who went ahead to the ship set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for he had so arranged, intending himself to go by land. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard, and came to Mitylene. Sailing from there, we came the following day opposite Chios. The next day we touched at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium, and the day after we came to Miletus. For Paul had determined to sail past Ephesus, that he might not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hastening, if it were possible for him, to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.
Sometimes the will of God disrupts the will of man. In fact, people will even “spiritualize” their own will in order to make it sound like it would be a sin to not do what they want even if it means disobeying what God has clearly indicated.
Paul had many good friends in Ephesus. It was probably not easy for him to sail past it on His way to Jerusalem. After all, he was sailing past a bunch of friends in order to rush to where he had many powerful enemies. It probably didn’t make much sense to anyone who wasn’t in step with what the Holy Spirit wanted. Some might even argue that he wasn’t showing much love to not even stop by for a moment.
My guess is that, humanly speaking, Paul wanted to stop very badly, but even more he wanted to do what God wanted him to do. A true friend of Paul and a follower of the Holy Spirit would know that Paul had to go to Jerusalem, even if it meant that he couldn’t spend time with them. Who’s servant was Paul anyway? Our first duty is to Jesus. In doing what He wants we will best serve those we love.
We don’t follow a rule book as Christians. Although we have rules, they are actually quite general in many cases. The exact way to follow is often only made clear to us by the Holy Spirit as we trust in Him. If someone were to look down on Paul because he didn’t stop and visit, it would suggest that they were following rules rather than the Holy Spirit’s guidance because, to those who were following the Holy Spirit, it was clear.