For the first thirty years that Janet and I were married, I don’t think that we were apart more than 30 days total – for the whole thirty years. However, that hasn’t been the case for the last decade or so. Especially the last six or seven years I have been traveling around the country and to some degree, the world. While it’s true that Janet and I started going overseas together several years ago, it is remarkable for me to recall that the last time either one of us went to Europe before that was back when we were teenagers. We happened to be in Europe at the same time, but not together.
So when we decided to take a Mediterranean cruise, it had been almost 40 years since either of us had been to Europe. We have also spent time in the Caribbean, gone on an Alaskan cruise and even circumnavigated the British Isles. Oh, and by the way, we also did a cruise from New York up to Halifax, Nova Scotia. We really loved that one as well. I also went to New York the first time when I was in my mid-fifties and we have spent a ton of time in West Virginia at our beloved Greenbrier.
But my thoughts tonight are more about the business trips I have taken. Monthly, and then quarterly, to New Jersey. And earlier this month, I took trip number 69 to Dallas – that’s right – almost 70 trips to Dallas – one a month for almost 6 years. And you know what? Janet has yet to go there with me. Then there have been trips to California, thankfully not very often, a few trips to the Boston area and more than 125 nights in Cincinnati while I was teaching for a J&J company located there. They weren’t all together, thank goodness, but for several years, I was pretty tied up driving back and forth to Cincy. That, combined with places like Juarez, Mexico, El Paso, and a host of other cities have really allowed me to become quite the traveller – especially domestically.
The past year, I had added Oklahoma City to the mix. And then there was the trip to Knoxville. Last week, I ended up in St. Charles, MO for several days while Janet was visiting her family back in Williamsburg. Today, I found out that I will have an additional 14 trips, in addition to the ones I normally take that are already on the calendar. Places like Shoals, Alabama; additional trips to Dallas, at least 2 more to the St. Louis area, maybe one or two to California and undoubtedly, a number of trips to Phoenix. And believe me, I like to drive whenever I can. Flying just has become so difficult – since the planes are so full and the schedules have been reduced.
Janet and I love to drive together whenever we can. Eight hours or so passes so quickly when we are together. But it’s another thing when I head out alone. Five hours to the west side of St. Louis, almost 8 to Alabama, 7 to Knoxville and just over 2 to Cincinnati. I am re-thinking how I wish to travel later this year. I may give in and fly, but I am trying like crazy to continue to drive – even if I have to be alone. After all, I like the freedom of having my own car to go wherever I want once I reach my destination. And no planes to catch or airports to wait it.
The big idea here is that no matter where or when I travel, God expects me to be His ambassador. And that means whether Janet is with me or not. Practicing Christianity is more than going to church on Sunday, attending the local Bible study, doing ministry work in your back yard or reading your devotions. Christianity is a way of life – it transcends any other part of our lives and demands that we live out our faith regardless of where we are.
The verse for tonight comes from the New Testament, after the resurrection of Jesus. Luke, the author of Acts, tells us in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” That means you, me and every other Christian on the face of the planet. My encouragement this evening is that the world is getting smaller and that it is easier than ever before to travel to the ends of the earth. My prayer is that you will remember that spreading the Good News is an expectation of every Christian and I hope that you will continue to be an emissary for the Most High God. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…