Acts 20:1–6 (NKJV)
20 After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia. 2 Now when he had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece 3 and stayed three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4 And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. 5 These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. 6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days.
These segments are part of Paul’s third missionary journey. He is opposed almost everywhere he travels by men who are threatened by the gospel. Whether they are Jews who do not accept Christ as their Messiah, or idolaters whose livelihood and power are challenged in a foreign city, they oppose this new Way and fight against Paul. He is relentless, facing down philosophers and religious men, healing the sick and delivering the demon-possessed. He travels extensively, and is not often near his city of origin or the home bases of Jerusalem or Antioch of Syria. He misses his friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. He is accompanied by travelers who become part of his team, but they are often sent ahead or left behind to be more effective in the mission field. Yet, Paul is undaunted in his work for Christ.
This example is being followed today by many who pull up stakes and relocate to spread the gospel. While today we have Facetime and Skype and Zoom apps to see our loved ones via video, there were no such tools available for Paul. While we can Whatsapp or text or email our missionaries, the only avenue for Paul to communicate with the churches or the home base were letters, which often took weeks or months to arrive. Paul’s letters were so anointed that they became books of the Bible, and were written primarily on his missionary journeys. Don’t be dismayed when ministry is tough. Don’t regret the sacrifices made for the cause. For people like Paul and his companions, sacrifice and even pain were part of the process. Some days we just need to toughen up and move forward in faith, for God will sustain and will bring the victory. When you are weak, find a brother or sister which whom to pray, get ahold of God, and remember that Paul’s journeys help eventually get the gospel to you. You can make it happen for another, just don’t give up!
Artwork from https://www.slideserve.com/ely/what-a-friend-we-have-in-jesus and Logos Bible Software Atlas.