How Far Is That?

“How Far Is That?”

After returning from a long trip or journey, we are often asked, “How many miles did you drive?” People seem to be interested in numbers and data. Today, data seems to be the topic on the minds of many people. We constantly hear people telling us that they follow the data when they make decisions. Numbers and data, if studied properly, can tell us much about events throughout history.

Things have changed so dramatically over the years that we oftentimes lose perspective of what the apostle Paul accomplished on his three missionary journeys. We read about those journeys in the Book of Acts and completely forget about how Paul and others traveled in those days. It has been estimated that on Paul’s second missionary journey he traveled about three thousand miles. Two thousand of those miles would have been traveled on foot. During Paul’s time, the average distance walked in a day was about twenty miles. The Romans built inns along their highways about every twenty to twenty-five miles. These inns were usually filthy, full of immoral people, and insect infested. Paul traveled through snowy mountain passes and flooded rivers. He walked through areas known to be inhabited by robbers and criminals. He also had to worry about wild beasts.

In Acts 16, the travel that is recorded was estimated at 740 miles. The mileage in Acts 15 is close to 500 miles. Understand that Paul was not walking for his own health or benefit. Paul was walking for the spiritual well-being of others. Paul was delivering the Word of God throughout the Roman Empire. Paul walked these thousands of miles preaching and teaching the Gospel and saving countless lives from spiritual destruction.

One question for us to consider when we think about Paul and his journeys is, “how many Christians today find it burdensome to travel 20 minutes in their heated and air-conditioned vehicles to come to Sunday evening or Wednesday evening services?” Another is, “how many think nothing of driving 100-200 miles to see a ball game or a concert, but cannot drive 5 miles to attend the Gospel meeting?”

 What would the apostle Paul think about that and what would he say to us? Consider Paul and his missionary journeys the next time you consider staying away from services.