Thursday, February 6, 2014

“We” Sailed Away

These going before tarried for us at Troas. And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. (Acts 20:5-6 KJV)

The stories in Acts about Paul’s travels are seen from two different views – hearing about them from Paul or others, and being there with Paul as he traveled.  In these verses, the Luke joins Paul. He doesn’t give his name, but we know he’s with Paul when he writes, “we sailed away.”

Have you ever wanted to travel with a missionary? Many visit our church, sharing their experiences. Some have been on the mission field for years, others are going through what we term the deputation process – preparing to go. And, yes, I’ve wanted to travel with some of them.

Not all destinations are welcoming now any more than they were in Paul’s time. There are many places today where speaking scriptures publicly is against local laws. There are pastors in prison today for speaking aloud their love for Christ and His love for others. We help support a missionary whose name I cannot write, whose travels I cannot share because it could cost him his life.

Their crimes are the same as Paul’s – obeying Jesus’ words to His disciples:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

From the Bible we know that Paul had some support from churches, but he had viable craft as a tent maker in a land where tents were home:

And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. (Acts 18:2-3 KJV)

Last summer (and planned again for this summer) the youth in our church will go to camp several states away. They spent one night with a missionary, a church planter, and had an opportunity to be of help to him, the new church and get a taste of what it means to go and teach.

Several years ago my daughter and her husband vacationed in another country. They located a church in a nearby city that was started by a missionary. They, too had a taste of what it means to go and teach by seeing results.

We are all called of God. Some respond, some do not. Of those who do, a small number give their lives to go and teach. They really aren’t dependent upon us, for the Lord will provide what is needed to accomplish His purpose. It is we who are blessed by supporting them – financially, as it is written:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (2 Corinthians 9:7-8 KJV)

And, always with prayer support. Don’t confine this to foreign missions – your pastor is called for just such a purpose:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:13-15 KJV)

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