We heard a profound truth at the end of our study of the book of Acts. We were told that the Holy Spirit is not reporting details and facts, but directing all of us to follow Paul as he followed Christ. The Acts of the Holy Spirit were empowered by God to serve as an example for all of us to follow.
Most of those examples were bright and bold. They were hard to miss. Still, I have been deeply impacted by many of the smaller notions tucked away in simple, declarative sentences strung throughout this historical book.
One of those examples jumped out at me this past Sunday. Paul is on one of the last legs of his journey to Rome. He has landed in the Italian port city of Puteoli, and the Scripture says, “There he found some brothers who invited [him] to spend a week with them” (Acts 28:14).
The believers in that area heard that the great teacher, Paul, was in town and invited him to hang around for a week. No doubt, they wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to worship together on the Lord’s day.
But the big deal is found in that little word, “invited.” It means “to exhort or encourage.” But it is the kind of encouragement that comes from being up close and personal. Those believers sensed that Paul desperately needed a good time out. He needed some time on shore to rest and recoup from a very arduous journey. He needed the refreshment that believers can share with each other.
It was a timely “time out.”
The same term is used in John 14:6, when Jesus is trying to encourage His disciples the night before His death. He told them, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another comforter to be with you forever…” That word “comforter” is a version of the word “invite” in Acts 28:14.
The Holy Spirit is Someone who has been called to come alongside us, to be a comforter (one just like Jesus), and to be an advocate who is close enough to know what’s really going on in our lives.
That kind of Comforter regularly invites us into a spiritual “time out.” The Spirit encourages us to take a respite from the rush of worries and fears. He urges us to stop the whirlwind of activities and to just sit still. He offers us rest! It is an opportunity to calm our minds, quiet our hearts, and refresh our souls.
“Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you REST” (Matthew 11:28).
So, let’s lean in and enjoy our TIME OUT this week!