After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo.
Thoughts for Today:The way in which he traveled says something about Paul -- he was not ensconced in luxury on a passenger ship while being waited on hand and foot; instead he was traveling on a cargo ship, as the commonest of common men. A big part of Paul's choices had to do with his focus -- his was on eternal rewards versus earthly comforts.
However, there was also another dynamic at work: Paul's transportation reflected what he could personally afford because he always paid his own way. Why? In Acts 20:34-35 Paul tells us: "You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" In other words, Paul never wanted anyone to confuse his ministry (and the message of Jesus Christ) with his need or demand for monetary support. He fully understood and modeled the greater blessing of giving rather than receiving -- even if it meant a little less personal comfort.
I am in the process of preparing to go on a medical/evangelical mission for two weeks to Nepal with three other men. It won't be my normal type of "vacation." There won't be room service, bellmen, dining rooms with white linen napkins, or white sand beaches. In fact, from everything I've been able to gather the trip will be rather spartan and physically demanding (with a smidgen of danger thrown in). We will go daily from village to village on foot to provide medical help and talk about Jesus. Why am I going (at my own personal expense of both time and money)? First, I feel the call of God's Holy Spirit to go; and second, I want to experience one small part of what Paul's life was like in service to the Lord.
Questions to Ponder:What keeps you from mission work? Is it the cost of the trip, the inconvenient sleeping arrangements, the time (which might be spent on a more enjoyable vacation), or something else? Paul said, "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak." How can you model this statement in your own way? How can you get involved in Kingdom work today?