Willing To Make The Trip?
How far are you willing to go?
In Acts chapter 8, we read the story of a preacher named Phillip, and an Ethiopian man, whose name we are not given. It was a great task for Phillip to exert the effort to even make contact with this man from Ethiopia. He had to leave town, go on the desert road, and link up with him. We assume he had to walk or maybe ride an animal, we don't know, but for sure we know it wasn't in an air conditioned Suburban, and at one point, he ran up to the chariot. We get the impression he ran alongside, but scripture says Phillip ran up to the chariot. Either way, he wasn't in a jogging suit wearing Nikes.
How often do we consider the extent the Ethiopian went to? He went to great lengths to worship God! By chariot he traveled about 800 miles to Jerusalem to worship! Surely he had some bad weather days, and I'm not sure where you get a new chariot wheel if you break one. There were certainly other hardships. Someone had to feed and tend to the animals pulling the chariot. What did he eat, where did he sleep, no Motel 6 leaving the lights on.
He possibly encountered thieves. The round trip was about 1600 miles. Even on a good day, how many miles could you cover? Maybe 40? That's about 40 days at best, and probably some days he could not cover that distance. Hot, cold, dark, dusty, dangerous. This man was determined to make the trip to Jerusalem to worship.
How much effort are we willing to expend to worship God? When we are put out, or have the flimsiest of excuses, we tend to let that be sufficient to avoid worship. Thank God we no longer have to travel to Jerusalem, but some aren't willing to travel across town.
If Sunday is a day where we try to work in an hour with God, we've missed it. Sunday is not our day for what we want, it's His day for what He wants.
Had this man from Ethiopia not made the trip, or had Phillip not gone and met him, we know he would not have learned the Gospel message that day, and for all we know, he might not have ever had another opportunity. It's a long dangerous trip from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. No guarantees he even gets home.
The next time we feel inconvenienced to make it to worship and sit in an uncomfortable pew for an hour, consider a few hundred hours, sitting or standing in a chariot, on hot dusty roads. The Ethiopian certainly felt it was worth the trip for him, he learned the Gospel, immediately obeyed it, and he went home saved after having his sins washed away in baptism. He went on his way rejoicing. We should certainly feel our efforts are not wasted as we leave worship to ride home in our air conditioned motorized chariots. If anyone has reason to rejoice, it's us!