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Don’t Go it Alone
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Fourteen travelers ranging in age from 17-62 signed on for a tour of Israel and Istanbul, Turkey. All were seasoned world travelers. Any of them, mostly leaders, business owners and strong, independent types, were capable of doing this trip solo.

The adventure started in Tel Aviv, Israel. Some were complete strangers before meeting that first day and our diverse ages made us potentially incompatible—not to mention our Israeli guide and the Palestinian driver. Our final number equaled sixteen.  

With group travel you are at the mercy of the tour planners. Hotels, restaurants, and the sites you’ll see are determined by them. However, on the up side, you don't have to worry about a thing. Jerusalem today, the Dead Sea tomorrow-- it doesn't matter. All you need to do is meet the group at the bus on time.  

Eating together, spending all day seeing the sites, listening to lectures by the tour guide, and meeting for worship in the evenings is an intense dose of people. Yet shared experiences tend to bond people. When those experiences include crossing the Sea of Galilee on a boat, visiting sites where Jesus preached and healed people, and being on top of Mount Carmel where the prophet Elijah met up with the prophets of Baal, you are drawn even closer by your shared faith.

Better People

Traveling in close quarters is sure to result in little irritations and inconveniences. Yet such travel helps develop patience and endurance. We become better people when we share or defer to the needs of others.

Perhaps group travel serves as a metaphor for the church. Travelers of all ages sign on for a group travel experience when joining a community of faith. Many could manage on their own, needing no one’s support through life. But Christians are warned against the dangers of going it alone. We need each other. Shared faith bridges the cultural, economic, gender and age divisions.  

So why travel through life as a group - a community of faith - a church? Surely our shared experiences serve to bind us together. Friendships are formed, and group experiences build us into the kind of community Jesus had in mind when establishing His kingdom on this earth.  

In His final hours Jesus prayed for His disciples, those with Him and those of us who follow.  His intercession included community. "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:  I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me" (John 17:22, 23).  

May we be willing to risk inconvenience and some loss of personal independence in order to know the deep connections and joys of group travel through life, thus experiencing a taste of the joys of heaven to come.

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By Nancy Gerard. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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