17:13 But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.
Have you started counting cities yet? Have you lost track? Have you gotten the sense that these men are on the move a lot? No pay. Little appreciation. No guarantees of a place to sleep at night. Some hear and believe, the rest hear and resist, sometimes violently.
Some say religion is boring. I agree. However I see little evidence that following Jesus is boring. It certainly hasn't been my experience. It wasn't the experience of anyone in the early days and years of the Christian church. There is a reason why following Jesus is always busy and never boring. Jesus causes us to look beyond ourselves. Paul and Silas and Timothy are not traveling to see the scenery. They aren't on some expedition of self realization or self fulfillment. There is only one motive. They want others to know the Truth. They want the world to have the opportunity to know Him.
Our culture and circumstances may be different but one common theme remains: To live for Jesus is to live for others.
Simple, quick, and easy to say but it's true. Jesus came to serve. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. His entire existence here was about and for others. His life was never boring because there was never an end to the mission. There was always another person who needed help, healing, forgiveness, and hope.
A self-serving life is boring. It becomes an endless pursuit of meaning and fulfillment from things that can never really satisfy. We weren't designed to serve ourselves. We were designed to serve others. My wife would rather make a meal for others than for herself. She isn't alone. I have heard countless people say they can't be bothered to cook only for themselves. I'd rather build for others. Projects are fun for me only when they are for someone else. When it's for me it just seems like work.
Sadly we live in a culture that is trying to convince us of the opposite. We have I phones and I pads and everything is catered to self. At the same time depression and mental illness are skyrocketing. Why? Because we are not designed for self-absorbed living. We were designed to serve each other. We are wired to find our own happiness in bringing happiness to others.
This summer I had the opportunity to have lunch with an old friend. He has left a high profile, high paying job to work in service to others. The pay is lousy. The perks are few. Recognition is not part of the package yet he did it on purpose and is the happiest professionally that he has ever been. Many would say he is crazy. He says he is happy.
Paul was a highly educated free man. He could have been doing all kinds of "successful" things. He chose to serve Jesus which meant serving others. He was happy.
Again I ask - Are you happy?