18:18 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. 19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. 20 When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, 21 but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. 23 After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.
What I love about this seemingly boring and almost unnecessary travel itinerary is that it tells a story. Paul is on the way to Jerusalem. He could have just gone directly but he doesn't. He deliberately stops and visits each city where he has spent time planting churches. He goes back to encourage them. He cares too much to just preach and run and leave them with no followup.
What can we learn from this? Life is full of connections. Everywhere we go, school, work, and all other associations, we meet people. We connect with certain ones. We have an impact on them and they on us. Often as life continues moving we lose some of those connections. We change schools or finish school or change jobs or move from one place to another. What about those people we left behind? Do we check in once in a while to see how they are doing? It's not realistic to maintain active friendships with everyone we meet. Not even Jesus could do that. However we can check in from time to time, especially with those we know can use some encouragement.
I am no stellar example of keeping in touch but I have learned over the years that when God puts a person on my mind, He does so for a reason.
We are blessed today to have so many ways to communicate regardless of distance. Take advantage. I just spoke with my brother who is 6000km away and as soon as I'm done here I'm going to contact a friend in Tanzania.
Do you remember that crazy guy in the cemetery in Decapolis that Jesus freed from demons and restored to his right frame of mind? Do you remember that the man wanted to come with Jesus buy Jesus told him to stay and tell his family and friends what God had done for him? Jesus left him and went back across the sea. However He did return for a visit.
Who will you reach out to today? Maybe it's time to retrace some steps... :)