I am very thankful as I write because God has blessed me with a church that generously permits me to vacation in the winter time, and for all of the people who have served in the last weeks as I’ve been away. As 2016 fades in the rear view mirror and 2017 is already underfoot, let me express my thanks to Calvary Grace Church and my thanks to God for you all!
Since arriving home yesterday, I’ve had travelling on my mind over the course of 3500 miles we’ve driven. And when I think about God’s care for the church in the last year, even as he cared for my family on the road, it is a reminder to me of our common journey. As travelling pilgrims (1 Peter 2.11), each of us encourages the other as we go (Hebrews 10.24-25).
When we serve the Lord, we do so as followers of Jesus (John 12.26). There is a togetherness to our following so that Christians from the earliest days were collectively called the Way (Acts 9.2). We are on the narrow path (Mt 7.14), and Jesus, of course, is himself, “the way” as the only route of access to the Father (John 14.6).
The result of this travelling experience is that all of the saints who have desired ‘a better country, that is a heavenly one’, who have sought ‘a homeland’ and who have sought ‘a city whose designer and builder is God’— all of these saints encourage each other by their travelling (Hebrews 11. 10, 14-16). A disciple’s faithful travelling encourages others to travel onward as well.
I was reminded of this when I was driving through Death Valley. The traffic was thick on the interstate and Californians were hindering traffic while texting or changing lanes at high speed within whispers of other car bumpers. Into the highway madness, a minivan pulled up beside me and the driver gave me a giddy smile and waved at me like we were cousins.
Was it another strange Californian?
As he passed I saw his unwashed BC license plate. He was just another crazy Canadian like me, far from home, trying to get back there. We were travelling together because we had the same destination. And that common goal gave us a common bond, even going through Death Valley.
Of course, as Christians, our journeyings are not simply a case of endless leap frogging in the passing lane. We follow Jesus Christ our Lord who has gone to prepare a place for us (John 14.1-4). He is the founder and perfecter of our faith, and we look to him (Hebrews 12.2). Together, we look to Jesus (the “looking” in Heb. 12.2 is plural in the Greek text).
So I am thankful for the fellow travellers who serve in the church in everything from setting up chairs to laying out lessons. I’m encouraged by your travelling and I pray you will be encouraged by mine, as we look to Jesus together on the road ahead.