On Thursday morning, I hopped on a plane to Thailand. It took a total of 30 hours before reaching my final destination. We arrived in Chiang Mai and then at the missionaries house at about midnight on Friday night (12 hours ahead of EST). I was ready to go to bed. Needless to say, it was a very long trip. But after a nights sleep and some good conversation today, I have to say that I was a bit convicted. I was humbled that the traveling was really easy in comparison. Let me explain.
It is very easy to pass over the passages in the NT that speak of travel. When the Apostle Paul sets out on his first missionary journey, we are simply told that they "went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God" (Acts 13:4-5). When they left there, we are told that "Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13). In each of the details of Paul's trips, we are told locations and travel itineraries. And we do not think much of them. We often just pass over them as a necessary requirement to enter a new place. And it sort of is.
Compared to traveling from Cleveland to Chiang Mai, Paul's trips were relatively short. But there is no doubt in my mind that they were much more difficult. When I traveled here, I had a great Italian Beef sandwich at the Chicago airport. I then spent 14 hours on Korean Air, quite possibly the nicest airlines I have ever flown. We had a personal video screen that I could control in front of me. I had the selection of many movies and even games (Pacman was my favorite). I was served two full meals and as many snacks as I wanted. I could ask for my Coke Light anytime I desired. I could read or sleep. Then after landing in Seoul, South Korea, I enjoyed a few hours of walking before jumping on a last plane ride of 5.5 hours into Chiang Mai. Same thing with that flight. It was luxury.
Paul's trips? Not so much. It would have been so much more difficult. No airlines that cater to his needs. No places to stop and eat. No easy shuttles to take him from one place to the next. He would have hiked it. He would have probably served as a crew member of some ship in order to hop aboard. Not only did he work at his destinations (tentmaker & gospel preacher), but his journeys would have been work.
Which leads me to this. Once again, I was confronted with how easy my Christianity has become. I was confronted once again how easy it became to complain of soreness from sitting so long. I traveled around the world to teach and share the gospel. And the travel over, I was not always gospel thankful. That realization was good for my heart and soul. I want to be uncomfortable with the gospel. It makes me more dependent upon the Lord.
As I continue to grow in my love for Jesus and the gospel, I pray that my heart is continually transformed. Part of that transformation would be to do whatever necessary to take the gospel to those that don't know it. I traveled around the world to do it. But I wonder if the most uncomfortable place to travel to take the gospel is next door.
Question: How Uncomfortable Will You Allow Yourself To Be In Order To Take The Gospel To Someone Who Doesn't Know It?