By one estimate, more than 14 trillion frequent-flyer miles have been accumulated by people worldwide. It all started in the early 1980s, when airlines began the first frequent-flyer programs to encourage repeat business by rewarding customers for their loyalty. Accumulated miles could be redeemed for free travel, goods, and services, so it wasn’t long before people began planning their travel based as much on personal reward as on price or schedule.

The apostle Paul was an avid first-century traveler, but he wasn’t in it for the “frequent-sailor miles.” His goal was to reach as many people as he could with the good news of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Jesus. When some people in the city of Corinth questioned his authority, he wrote a letter describing the price he had paid to bring the gospel to others: “Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep” (2 Cor. 11:25). God gave Paul the grace and endurance to risk his life to tell people about Jesus with no thought of personal gain.

Whether we receive persecution or praise for our service to the Lord, may our focus always be loyalty to Him and gratitude for His sacrifice of love.