From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days.
Thoughts for Today:In our previous passage, Paul and the missionary team had been given a new vision to preach the Word of God in Macedonia. We also learned from verse 10, they "got ready at once to leave for Macedonia." In other words, they didn't fool around, second guess the new direction, or try something else first -- they got right to the new program. In today's passage, I also like both the pace (speed) and purpose (focus) they demonstrate in carrying out the Lord's will, "...we put out to sea [no doubt] and sailed straight for Samothrace" [no detours]"... the next day on to Neapolis" [no delays]"...from there to Philippi" [their intended destination].
Try taking a parked car and turning it in a new direction. You can get in and crank the steering wheel as much as you want but unless the car is moving it won't turn. We all know it is the forward momentum of the car that enables the wheels to turn the vehicle. Now start the engine, shift into "Drive," press on the accelerator, and as you move ahead you will see how easily the car will turn. So it is with us in Christian ministry, when we are moving (even if it is in the wrong direction) it is much easier for the Lord to turn us.
I had a debate recently with a Christian brother about what comes first the pace or the purpose. He (like many of you) felt the purpose needed to come first otherwise someone might get started in the wrong direction, make a mess of things, and waste a lot of time, resources and energy trying to find the right purpose. While I agree with that to a certain degree, I also know it is much easier to change direction when moving -- most of the challenge in anything is just to begin (whether that's a diet, exercise program, search for a new job, or a missionary expedition).
The most difficult step in any call to action is the first one -- that is where all the doubts, insecurity, questions of ability and adequate resources are expressed. Once moving those issues might still be there but they are a lot less important because the most important decision has been made -- to get started. After you're moving is when the Lord might choose to alter your intended target, much as He did with Paul and his missionary team.
So what do you do when the Lord gives you a new vision while still in route? You do what Paul did, you get right to it -- no doubt, no detours, no delays -- with both pace and a new sense of purpose.
Questions to Ponder:Has the Lord rerouted your goals recently? Has He set forth a new set of mission objectives in front of you? What are the new goals? Don't pretend you don't know because the Lord is always clear in these things, you just may not like the new direction. The question you have to ask yourself is this: Who is the Lord of your life? Then get to the new goal with both pace and purpose.