[Nov 20]--Setting Out

Acts 27:1-12

Finally finally finally! After several years of false starts and seemingly infinite obstacles, Paul set out for Rome. The great thing is that the Roman government was going to foot the entire bill for the trip!

Why was Paul so dead-set on going to Rome? It was truly the capital of the entire known world. It was the seat of the greatest empire ever seen on earth up till that point. Was he going sightseeing? I’m sure there was plenty to see if you were a tourist. Was his main objective to get himself cleared of the charges?

No. He had one main reason for going to Rome, and it had nothing to do with sightseeing. He was going there to present the Good News of Jesus Christ to as many people as he could. He especially wanted to testify before the highest officials he could. If he could make converts there, then that would open so many doors for the Message to the rest of the world. Who knows? Maybe even the Emperor himself would listen and believe.

Another thing to consider was this was the hub of information to the rest of the world. Just think if soldiers could become believers! They would then be stationed—again, at government expense—to the furthest corners of the world, where they would truly contribute to making Acts 1:8 a reality.

There was only one main problem: The weather. It was past the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), which was in late September to early October. By that time sailing was already dangerous, and the best thing to do was to wait out winter until the storms died down.

Unfortunately, the Centurion, along with the pilot and the ship’s owner, decided to chance it. Paul might have gotten a direct revelation from God, but quite frankly he probably didn’t need one to know that this was a bad idea. He warned them that by leaving the port they were endangering their ship and their lives.

So is there anything we can gain from this story? Well, I see Paul’s patience as something for us to emulate. Everyone was in a rush to get to Rome as soon as possible. Paul might have been tempted to join in the consensus. He was undoubtedly anxious to get there and see what strides the Message could make in the capital. But he knew that to go forward right now was foolhardy to say the least, so he tried to put the brakes on until they could leave safely. He didn’t let his eagerness overshadow his good sense and what he knew to be right. Jesus himself had promised that he would make it there, so he could afford to go on God’s timetable and not risk men’s lives and property.

So do I ever fall into that trap? Of course I’m mature, right? I never lose my patience to get something that’s promised to me? I never jump the gun and suffer bad consequences?

Yeah, I wish.

Father God, your timing is perfect. I want my schedule in perfect sync with yours. When you say “Go,” I’ll go. Until then, I’m staying right where I’m supposed to be. That’s not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing.

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