Summary: Choices, which way to travel, what will the fare be and in which direction are you going. What does God require from you?
Which Bus: Acts 16:6-15
Imagine if you would that you want to go to Oamaru on the bus, the buses run to Oamaru every day of the week and there are at least three different bus companies to choose from. The trick with all these bus companies is that they charge different fares and that they go at different times. You can pay as little as $22.99 on Naked Bus or as much as $42.00 on Intercity but to be fair Intercity does have a cheaper rate if you book early. In the middle is Atomic Bus Lines at $30.00.
So off you go with your packed lunch off to see the penguins and limestone buildings in Oamaru, hopping up onto the bus, you find a quiet seat and as you sit down you plug yourself into your MP3 player for those of my generation or older that’s like a tiny electronic portable tape deck that just keeps playing music, it doesn’t stop and you don’t have to turn the tape over.
So there you are plugged into a medley of classical music, a bit of Vivaldi’s four seasons / Lady Gaga / Hill Songs and Chris Rea. You are enjoying the music so much that you close your eyes and open them as you pull into Greymouth.
Panic! You were going to Oamaru. You are in Greymouth, I spent my last $30.00 on that ticket, I can’t get to Oamaru from here, I have no more money, I know no one in Greymouth! Where will I sleep, who do I go to for help?
You may see that life is like a bus journey, made up of many short trips to different places, often to numerous and exciting destinations-conversations with lots of different people and packed lunches.
Take a step back, take another look, just for the next ten minutes or so. Consider this your life is one long bus trip. One bus, one fare, one destination.
I’ve come up with this theory that “if you are doing one thing, you have given up something else to do it!” You can’t be going on the bus to Oamaru and Greymouth at the same time. You can’t be in church listening to me and watching the car racing at the same time. Okay well you could try maybe, ‘Moffatt’s first theorem of doing stuff’ should read, “If you’re doing one thing well, you have given up everything else while you are doing it.” Yes I know that one half of the species will disagree, so it’s now Moffatt’s first ‘blokes’ theorem of doing stuff. Men how many of us have figured out a way of being in two places at once? Also this multitasking thing is a bit of a struggle, am I right?
But life is full of choices, career path A or B, cricket game or church, tea or coffee, vegemite or marmite, Greymouth or Greytown, atheist or believer, builder or brain surgeon, this bus or that bus, maybe I’ll bike?
Read to Acts 16:6-15
Now the apostle Paul had this vision, of a bloke from Macedonia, from the map as you will see Macedonia is in Europe, until this time Paul’s entire ministry was in Asia / Asia Minor, Israel and the like.
The bus that Paul was to take was really a boat and off he went from Troas to the Macedonia, Philippi by the way was named after Alexander the Greats Dad. In Paul’s time it was a Roman colony. While Paul and his mates were there they went out of the city to the river expecting to find a quiet place to pray.
They meet some ladies at this place and while they were speaking one of the ladies a linen dealer from the city by the name of Lydia and who was a worshiper of God became convinced that Jesus was Lord. This resulted with Lydia and the members of her household who were baptised, she then invited Paul to stay at her home. The power point is of where Lydia was baptised.
So what you may ask? Two things that involved Paul occurred, response and
Paul responded to the vision that God gave him and as a consequence a lady and her household were saved. But wait there’s more, Lydia is the first of a continent of souls to come to faith in Jesus – Lydia is the first Christian convert that we know of in Europe.
But what if Paul had shrugged off the vision he had had? What if he had decided to stay in Troas? Much easier than hopping on a ship to a foreign nation. Much easier than the dangers of sailing to a place where he “didn’t speak the language, where he held no currency, where he was a foreign man and where he was surrounded by the sound” (thanks Paul Simon) and looked different to the locals. Not taking the journey was easier than being in a place where strange God’s were worshiped and unusual food was eaten.