After saying farewell to the Ephesian elders, [Paul and his companions] sailed straight to the island of Cos. The next day we reached Rhodes and then went to Patara. There we boarded a ship sailing for Phoenicia. We sighted the island of Cyprus, passed it on our left, and landed at the harbor of Tyre, in Syria, where the ship was to unload its cargo.
We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week.
— Acts 21:1-4 NLT
Luke is careful to record the travels of Paul. Most people skip over these kinds of sections unless they are geography-lovers or historians. Sometimes, however, God reveals some of his essential principles in conjunction with these sorts of lists. After mentioning the obvious — the traveling party went ashore after having sailed for quite some time — Luke reminds us of the importance of fellowship with other believers. Paul's team searched till they found other followers of Jesus. Then, they stayed with them for a week. All too often when modern believers travel, we "take a vacation from church." I am thankful for people like Mac and Gerry McCauley, who traveled a great deal in retirement. On Sundays, they made a point to visit a congregation wherever they were. They took people out for lunch who were church leaders and blessed them. On one occasion, they stopped in Bangkok, Thailand, and found a young man named Robert at the church there. They encouraged him. They then went back to his home church and convinced their mission committee to sponsor him. Now, thirty years later, Robert and his wife Jan have led hundreds to Christ and mentored hundreds more to be ministers all over Asia. Don't overlook the power and principle of this last sentence in today's verses: "We went ashore, found the local believers, and stayed with them a week." What difference can a visit with other believers make? Just ask hundreds who know Christ and lead churches in Asia!
O Father, forgive me for the times I have not taken advantage of the opportunity to share fellowship with other believers and encourage them. I confess that I am sometimes selfish with my time and not focused on using that time to be a blessing. Thank you for Paul's example of seeking out other believers and encouraging them. Holy Spirit, help me also to use my travel as a time of spiritual encouragement. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.