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Traveling Companions.

Acts 20: 1 When the uproar was over, Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them. Then he said goodbye and left for Macedonia. 2 While there, he encouraged the believers in all the towns he passed through. Then he traveled down to Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. He was preparing to sail back to Syria when he discovered a plot by some Jews against his life, so he decided to return through Macedonia.4 Several men were traveling with him. They were Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea; Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica; Gaius from Derbe; Timothy; and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia. 5 They went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. 6 After the Passover ended, we boarded a ship at Philippi in Macedonia and five days later joined them in Troas, where we stayed a week.

After the riot in Ephesus, Paul undeterred continued on his journey and felt he needed to go back through Macedonia again and encourage the believers. Paul then travels to Greece and stayed for three months. He continues to make plans to continue encouraging the brothers in Syria, but he has to change his plans because the Jews had a plot to kill him when he came there. Paul turns back around and goes back to Macedonia and we can quickly see there are more traveling companions with him now. His journeys started out with just him, Mark, and Barnabas, then adding Silas when Barnabas departed. And now there are seven traveling with him proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some names we recognize and some we don't. Timothy, his son in the faith, is still traveling with Paul and now more brothers are on this journey with him.

With all of the problems Paul faced this persecution did not cause those early believers to desert him. Why? Because his call was "real" and God was adding more to keep this call alive and sharing the message of hope. Paul wasn't about to quit because he knew every place he went the gospel message was flourishing and his reaction to hearing of a plot by the Jews to kill him showed Paul was protecting that call by going back to Macedonia.

We need to protect the call God has on our life at all costs and that means not letting anyone keep us from doing what God has called us to do. Our calling is a precious part of our identity and that calling can only be understood by the one who is called. I accepted the call when I was twenty years of age and that call set into motion a journey that led me all over this great country we call America. My four children were born in various locations where I was following that call and all of the hometown memories others get to experience were not to be for my family. I can say it was worth all of the inconveniences on that journey and the opportunity to see lives changed before my eyes were worth it all.

God's faithfulness on this journey is evident and along the way, I have many long-distance traveling companions God has blessed me by adding them to my life. Those are my closest friends in the faith even though they are not with me. All of our callings are very personal to just us and no one else can even understand this call, but you can be sure that having Traveling Companions join us along the way is vital to keeping that call focused and secure.

The faith journey is full of new friends and relationships who join hands and hearts with us and we encourage each other in the faith. We go from not even knowing each other to becoming very close on this journey as Traveling Companions. Only God could knit together hearts and minds so closely and make those traveling companions our closest friends. I thank God for these friends and I plan on making even more friends on this journey ahead. Follow your calling and God will put Traveling Companions in your path as well and you can follow the Great Commission together. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

The Pilgrimage Continues

David Warren

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