We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost.
Thoughts for Today:Paul let his missionary team go on ahead by ship to Assos, while he took the longer (time-wise) twenty-five mile route on foot. If it wasn't faster, it makes you wonder why Paul did so. After all, the last sentence of our passage today indicates that Paul "was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem".
When I'm in a hurry and have an appointment to keep, I become almost machine-like in my calculations and efficiency. I combine one task with another, abbreviate a less important meeting to gain an extra few minutes, or take a surface street rather than the freeway to avoid rush hour traffic. But Paul didn't do the equivalent of any of that; instead he walked, taking the slower route, without even his usual entourage (they went by ship). Why? I believe he needed to spend some personal time with the Lord in prayer; and what better way to do it than a long walk?
Somehow I rarely think about that. Instead of praying when I normally do -- at my desk, in my chair, in my car, or in bed -- how about taking the scenic way home? Why not go for a long walk, bike ride or just sit on the beach? It doesn't matter what we choose to do, just that we dedicate time to spend with the Lord -- one on one. Too often when we pray it is a one way dialogue. We fill the Lord's ears with our pleas and when we're done we say "Amen!" Then go about our busy-ness. But what if the Lord had something to say in response to us? Would He need to send a lightning bolt to get our attention? Most of the time the answer is, "Yes."
In our passage today, it is interesting that Paul didn't become hurried until after his walk. It was then that getting to Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost became his top priority and he became very efficient -- he even went so far as to send for the elders of the church in Ephesus to meet him in Miletus rather than taking the time to go there. Perhaps during the walk Paul heard the direction of the Lord loud and clear; as a result he now had a new mission, purpose and sense of urgency -- get to Jerusalem by Pentecost.
Questions to Ponder:Do you have a difficult decision to make right now? Is stress mounting? Do you have concerns over health or the well being of friends or family members? Does the Lord seem to be silent in this your greatest time of need? I have a suggestion, open your front door, take your Bible in hand, and go for a walk all by yourself (don't take the dog or anyone else). Have the intent to spend time with the Lord; opening yourself to hear His voice. It is not about the physical exercise, so there is no need to hurry -- pray while you walk, talk to your friend Jesus, and when you find a quiet place take a moment to sit and read God's word. Quiet, intentional time with the Lord is the key to hearing His voice. Will you try? How about tonight?