The Editor’s Desk by Shawn McMullen
Whether to mountains or beaches, parks or museums, towns or cities, stateside or overseas, many people find themselves on vacation this time of year. Mid-summer is an ideal time to travel. The kids are out of school, life at home slows down a bit, and the weather is generally cooperative.
For the most part we think about our vacations as times to rest and relax, to do something we otherwise might not get to do. We speak in terms of getting away, kicking back, and taking it easy. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But a Christian’s time on the road can be more than that. It can be a time to grow spiritually and make an impact on others.
I doubt Jesus ever considered taking a vacation, but I know he used his travel time wisely and to the glory of God. Several instances in the Gospels point to this fact.
“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him” (Matthew 9:9).
“As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’” (v. 27).
“Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed . . . . and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!’” (20:17-19).
“As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him” (Luke 17:12).
“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth” (John 9:1).
Jesus seized opportunities to heal and teach as he went. His journeying was less glamorous and more practical than that of today’s cross-country vacationer, but still he found time as he traveled to stop and meet the needs of others.
Could we be more like Jesus when we travel? We might start by praying before we go and as we go. In addition to requesting safety on our journeys, we could ask God to place people in our paths we could impact for his glory, trusting he will do what we ask. We could remain alert to—and even seek out—opportunities to model Christ’s love and spread the gospel. If you keep a prayer journal, you could record your requests and the various ways God answered your prayers by putting you in touch with people in need.
Before he ascended, Jesus gave traveling instructions to his followers.
Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’ (Matthew 28:18-20).
The disciples responded to Jesus’ imperative to “go,” and as they went, they spread the gospel at every opportunity.
We can do the same.