How long did it take for you to prepare for worship this past Lord's Day? How far did you have to travel to go to worship this past week? I can remember as a boy beginning to get physically ready to go to worship on Saturday night, and then things were usually pretty hectic around our house on Sunday mornings. For, you see, we had eleven children in our family, so you can imagine how things went on Sunday mornings. But Mom was diligent and worked hard in making sure we had what was necessary.
When Linda and I lived in Germany, we traveled about 35 to 40 miles every Lord's Day morning to get to the assembly. We had an old 1965 Volkswagen sedan, and the "heater boxes" had rusted off. In the wintertime, we had to keep a scraper inside the car to scrape ice from the windshield, and we had to use blankets to cover our laps. But, we always traveled to Frankfurt to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that others have similar memories.
There is a record in Acts chapter eight of one who traveled about 1500 miles, from Ethiopia in North Africa to Jerusalem, for the purpose of worshipping God. This man was a man of high authority; he was the queen's treasurer. He traveled from his home to Jerusalem in a chariot. Common sense suggests that this man did not travel alone but was probably with a caravan. With a chariot he could hope to travel only about 20 miles in one day, if that much. Let us say he could average 20 miles in one day. How long did it take him to travel the 1500 miles? It would have taken him about 75 days one-way. That is over two months! Now, how long did it take you to get to worship on Sunday? Remember, this Ethiopian came to Jerusalem for the stated purpose of worshipping God. The traveling alone, to and from worship, took five months out of this man's busy schedule!
Furthermore, how long did it take him to get ready for the trip? Now, we have to speculate, but we can imagine it, can we not? For a recent two-week trip to Texas, it took my wife and me three days to get everything ready, and we anticipated restaurants, rest stops along the interstate highway, motels for the evenings, etc. The Ethiopian could not count on such luxuries. Just the trip across the Sinai Peninsula would have been a rough time. He would have had to take enough water and food for himself and his servants, not to mention food and water for the animals. It was, no doubt, a major undertaking! They would have had tents for sleeping in at night, and these would have to be packed as well. No, the Ethiopian nobleman did not have an easy commute to worship.
This coming week, as you are preparing for worship on Saturday night, and as you are traveling to the meeting place on Sunday morning, think about this Ethiopian who became our brother in Christ. We need more like him today. -P.O. Box 285, Crum, WV 25669.