4-6 “We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.”
Acts 21:4-6 (NIV)
Run into a good story lately? What was it?
I saw a new one today. It’s short, just five sentences. And I love how little stories like this one carry big lessons!
Hopefully you’ll see something special in today’s Scripture too. The Bible has a great way of doing this.
Here are four lessons I found. Perhaps you’ll find more.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: This core Golden State Warriors’ motto was a biblical one first. God always calls His people to find fellowship and build community around faith … even just for a day or a week.
The apostle Paul made it a point, wherever he went, to seek out other believers -- those following Jesus too. Today’s Scripture provides one more piece of evidence of God’s “strength in numbers” game plan for us to live by.
Are you operating that way too, like Paul, always finding consistent fellowship no matter where you go? There’s strength in those finds.
SPIRIT URGES: The spiritual community in Tyre urged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. In fact, they did this “through the Spirit.” They didn’t just level an emotional plea. It was deeper.
They let God move and shape their thoughts and words. Does God’s Spirit move you to act, prompt your words, drive your care?
PRESSING ON: Still Paul went to Jerusalem. He pressed on in spite of their expressed Spirit-urges not to head there. Were they misled by the Spirit, or was Paul’s departure to be seen as spiritual disobedience?
Can God’s Spirit lead one to advise and another to do the opposite?
The answer is yes. God’s Spirit prompts us to express deep, uncommon care for others, but also can press us to hold onto our God-given purpose and direction no matter what. Both Spirit actions need to be recognized, learned, honored.
Live in this tension. Press on.
PRAYERS THAT DROP US: Before they parted, the travelers and their hosts prayed together. In fact, this prayer huddle was so sweet and strong that they dropped to their knees to do so.
How sacred and memorable was this act of community prayer! I’m sure it marked them all.
One more thought ... It is clear that both parties kept united in spirit despite their differences. Prayer has a way of doing this.
When people pray together, they move together and stay together beyond whatever distance may ever come their way.
Well, that’s four good bites to chew on today!
Reflect: Are you committed to “strength in numbers” living, finding good spiritual community wherever you go? Are you committed to obeying God’s calling on your life, come what may? How’s your prayer life?
A prayer to consider: LORD, keep introducing me to Your great stories among us, and keep writing Your story into me.
Help me to practice “strength in numbers” living spiritually, follow your Spirit prompts, press on in with my deep callings and godly commitments no matter what, and pray on my knees with others.
I know I’ll live happily ever after. Amen.