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Return to Antioch in Syria, Acts 14:21-28

Mission Field at my Fingertips

Have you noticed that doctor's offices ask now if you've been out of the country in the last three weeks? My answer is always a very quick and resigned, "no." I'm not one of those people who has made travel enough of a priority to give up other things so that I can travel. (That's a politically correct way of saying I can't afford it.) Sometimes I envy people who take vacations in Mexico or go on missions trips to Africa. I imagine all the people they meet and the scenery they view and the experiences they have. I wish I could have those, too.

But then I realize I don't have to travel to meet extraordinary people. I have an abundance of interesting people all around me every day. The challenge is not to find people, but to appreciate the people I already know. And to take opportunities to meet new people as they arise. I don't have to travel to see new scenery. There are millions of places in my own city that I have never seen - museums and parks and small businesses and restaurants I have never gone to. If I made an effort, I could go somewhere new every single day. And I don't have to travel to have amazing experiences. In Bloomington alone I have gone zip-lining, watched my dog swim for the first time at the dog park, sat around a bonfire with great company, run my first 5K around the lake, sent my kids off to Bible camp, met a small business owner (florist) in business less than a month, watched fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July, rode a roller coaster inside a mall, visited an African museum/shop, and made sandwiches for the homeless.

While it is fun, enlightening, and exciting to travel (and I plan to someday), it isn't necessary for my well-being or happiness. I can do all of the things God is calling me to do right here on my own doorstep.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Acts 14:21-28

After they had proclaimed the good news to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, then on to Iconium and Antioch. There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.” And after they had appointed elders for them in each church, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe.

Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.