WEEK SEVEN, DAY THREE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE
WEEK SEVEN THEME: HOSPITALITY
DAY THREE THEME: HOSPITALITY IN THE CHURCH
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 21:1-6 (CEB)
“After we tore ourselves away from them, we set sail on a straight course to Cos, reaching Rhodes the next day, and then Patara. We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, boarded, and put out to sea.
We spotted Cyprus, but passed by it on our left. We sailed on to the province of Syria and landed in Tyre, where the ship was to unload its cargo. We found the disciples there and stayed with them for a week.
Compelled by the Spirit, they kept telling Paul not to go to Jerusalem. When our time had come to an end, we departed. All of them, including women and children, accompanied us out of town where we knelt on the beach and prayed. We said good-bye to each other, then we boarded the ship and they returned to their homes.”
THE WORD OF GOD FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD – THANKS BE TO GOD!
SOAKING IT IN: As Christians guided by the Holy Spirit – there is nowhere that we can go without finding like hearts and minds and souls and spirit. As we find our “joint heirs with Jesus” here, there and everywhere, our hearts and minds open up and we share whatever may be on our mind and hear the heart and mind of those we are fellowshipping with.
I’ve found my deeper self through such times together. It has been an important part of my life to always attend Sunday School or Bible Study groups or both. In those situations, we go in with one thought and/or idea. We may be confused or perplexed about what is on our mind or just beginning to sort it through. We may even be totally lost and cannot even think about our next steps in an issue. In either or any case, when in a small group and through worship in my church, doors and ideas and opportunities begin to open. I may not have told one person what was on my mind or a concern I was carrying, but through sharing or singing or listening, suddenly I have peace, direction, assurance.
In this portion of Acts, it feels that Paul is going hither and tither. Apparently the travel agent involved did not have the whole trip to Cos well organized, or there were just many stops along the way or bad weather or some type of interference, but when they did land (for whatever reason) in Tyre – they found kindred spirits there and stayed a week. It sounded like they were on a direct path and then got a little side tracked, but found some guidance and hospitality that surely was good for tired travelers. These disciples were concerned for Paul’s thoughts of going on to Jerusalem. This thought concerned those disciples and they shared their concerns and then prayed together before Paul and his crew went on their way.
It does not seem to me that those folks in Tyre were planning on such a visit from Paul – but once they met up – they opened their homes and joined their hearts, minds, souls and spirits together. Whatever Paul decided to do next, he had been heard, loved, consulted and prayed for. God would handle the rest and use it all for good. God’s spirit would direct him and use him in wherever he landed.
Do you ever get those nudges? Do you ever decide to make a stop you had not planned on making? Have you ever then gone on your way feeling a lift of your spirit and a bounce in your step – feeling confident come what may?
I have definitely had momentS when I feel nudges and find that if I ignore them I feel embarrassed or ashamed of myself for not listening or responding. I learned about the time that person or that thing was burning on my heart – there was something going on where another could have used my encouragement – even if it were just to let them know I would be praying could offer comfort and even joy in the midst of hardship. If I physically had no way to “fix” anything, I could pray for God to! Paul left Tyre after a week’s visit, after having an unplanned visit with God’s people feeling loved and support and being prayed for!
Are we keeping our eyes open for folks who could use our touch of some kind – maybe even just saying an inward prayer for their needs to be met. Things and people and circumstances don’t cross our path for no reason whatsoever. We have the opportunity every time to do something that lifts heavy loads or gives hope or assurance….puts a lift in their step and even our own. Whether in the church or out in society – let’s do our part in participating in outreach and love and swinging those Kingdom doors wide open!