Paul arrives to his destination and what greets him gives him great courage and gratitude. What value are our friends to us, and what value can we have as a good friend?
[Darris McNeely] Have you ever been at a point in your life where you’ve been a bit down, depressed, discouraged? Thinking and wondering what to do next? And someone, a friend, comes into your life – a phone call, drops into your office, writes you a note, an email – you get a letter in the mail that encourages you – and they compliment who you are, what you’re doing, your abilities, your gifts, whatever it might be. And it’s at that moment that you get that lift of courage to keep going, banish despair and doubt and the frustration that might be there. We’ve all been there. It takes a friend to do that. When friends come into our lives, it’s quite a joy.
There’s a story in the book of Acts with the apostle Paul. I’ve been going through this series called “Travels in Acts”, as I’ve just completed a series of teaching the story of Acts to a group of young adults. In Acts 28:15 Acts 28:15And from there, when the brothers heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
American King James Version×, the apostle Paul has come to the end of his journey, and he is on his way, by foot, from the Port of Puteoli north to the city of Rome, according to God’s design and plan for him. And Paul has gone through a shipwreck, a time of privation upon the island of Malta. He’s on his way to appear before Caesar to answer charges, his appeal there – he’s not knowing what the future might hold. And what happens is we come to Paul’s journey here, as he gets within just a few miles of the great city of Rome, that at a certain point called the Three Inns or the Appii Forum, there came brethren who had heard of Paul’s arrival, “and they came out from Rome, as far as the Three Inns.” And it says at the end of verse 15, “When Paul saw them, he thanked God, and he took courage.”
When he saw these members, these members of the church, coming out from Rome, people to whom he had written – perhaps many of them now he was finally seeing in the flesh for the first time. He had known them by name. And he saw them, they met him, he was a prisoner, and it lifted his spirits. He knew that he had enough strength now to finish that final leg to Rome and face whatever had to happen. He saw them, he was encouraged, and it helped him to finish that particular part of his life and the needs. Just like you and I get at times when we have friends come into our life.
The lesson? Cultivate those friends and certainly on your part, provide that encouragement and be a friend to others. God puts friends in our lives. God helps us to be a friend to others in times of need, in whatever way we can, to help, to serve, and to encourage. This lesson is here for many reasons, but I think from a very personal perspective, it shows us that we need those relationships, we need to cultivate them, and most of all, we need to do what we can to be a friend that lifts and encourages others.
That’s BT Daily. Join us next time.