14:24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.
27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Acts 14 is exhausting. City after city. Resistance after resistance. Stoning, threats, mobs, and even being followed from one city to another. Just as in real war with guns and tanks, Paul and Barnabas are pushing the front lines forward. They are claiming new territory and the battle is fierce. For them the territory is not countries or even cities. The territory is hearts and minds. Every person that realizes the love of Jesus and chooses to follow Him is both a victory and a seed. They also represent territory lost by Satan and he hates to lose.
Through chapter 14 the battle rages. Literally left for dead in Lystra Paul presses forward. Then after Derbe he begins to retrace his steps bringing encouragement to the new believers in each city as he goes.
Now at the end he returns to Antioch. The first Antioch he went to. The place where believers were first called Christians. He gathers them all together. It's like a mini camp meeting. He shares with them all the victories God had won. He shared how God was reaching out and winning the hearts of the Gentiles. It was a good news gathering.
Then it simply says: "So they stayed there a long time with the disciples".
It was a time to rest and recuperate. A time to relax among those who believed. A time to have shelter from the relentless resistance they had been facing. Ministry can be tough and exhausting, especially ministry that is pushing the front lines. It's not something that can be done without time off. The church is both a mission base and a refuge. Jesus had a place of refuge also. It was the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. You can find Him there often in the accounts of His ministry. Jesus knew what some struggle to understand. Life is balance. You can't spend every moment on the front lines. You can't spend every moment away from them either. A life lead by God is a life in balance. Work is as important as rest and rest is as important as work. I am fortunate. This weekend I am technically working yet I am home. The last year and a half or more have been a seemingly endless series of front line events. In every battle God has been right with me but a battle is a battle. Now he has brought me to a place of rest. Unfortunately it is a short stay but I'm looking forward to returning to my home in Alberta. I'm looking forward to whatever assignments he has for us next. I just want to be in step with Him because He is the author of perfect balance. Science has discovered if the earth rotated any closer to the sun we would burn up and any further away we would freeze. Our God knows exactly what we need and we can trust Him.