Acts 21:1-6: Homing instinct.
‘After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Kos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 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. 6 After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.’NIV UK
‘’And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days’’ (4a)
‘’When they were released, they went to their friends…’’ (‘’own people’’) (Acts 4:23).
We are living through days, in the church, where Christians don’t seem to value (or prioritise) fellowship quite so much as in the past. Actions speak louder than words, and I feel the haphazard attendance patterns of many contemporary Christians are saying something. I heard recently that a leading Christian statistician has recommended that, in assessing church attendance, we should no longer do so in weekly, but in monthly terms. People are more likely to count regular church involvement as turning up every three or four weeks.
For Paul and his colleagues, fellowship with ‘’their own people’’ clearly mattered. Surely, where the church is under pressure, Christians highly prize opportunities to get together?
When you’re on holiday, or away on business etc, is it a priority for you to seek out some ‘’disciples’’ and worship with them? Do you look for the church in that locale – see what you can offer it, and what it can offer you? Or do you ‘play truant?
There is such mutual benefit in Christian fellowship. Each one has something to give, and something to receive. The disciples of Christ in Tyre spoke into Paul’s life. They may have slightly misunderstood what to do with the message, but there is no doubt that they were hearing from God.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, Builder of the church, help us to see your church through your eyes; to value the church as you do.