As we near the end of the Book of Acts, we journey with Paul towards Rome and closer to the end of Paul’s life. One thing I was struck with in these verses is the succession of encounters Paul and his companions have with kind folks, both Christian and non Christian alike. Even though this journey to Rome was fraught with mishaps and dangers, even a shipwreck, it was a time of joy and thanksgiving for Paul.
When I was reading these verses, I was reminded of the joy I feel when I am in fellowship with other Christians. I have some great non-Christian friends. But I think if something ever happened to me or my family I think it is my St. Matthews family that I would look to for help.
I can’t imagine how Paul must have felt, going from place to place, uncertain if he was walking into death. He must have been so relieved when he was greeted by friendly faces, whether Christian or not. Verse 15 of our reading says that Paul “took courage” when he reached Rome and was greeted by Christians who came from all over to greet him. But, I think he was probably happiest to find folks who were open to hearing his message, the message of everlasting hope. Even though I would imagine Paul being so weary at times, so needy of a friendly, kind face, I also imagine that Paul would give that up if it meant he could reach someone in need and convert them to Christianity.
One of the joys of having Christian friends is that we can give each other support in our walk of faith. I can’t imagine living Paul’s life. But, I know I need to do a better job of doing Christ’s work. To be able to have fellow Christians take that walk with me is so comforting, and, like Paul, that fellowship gives me great courage.