A Band of Brothers
Dear Father, I thank You for the guiding light of this day, and for the assuring light of eternity. Lead me safely home.
Consider: "...let us consider how we may spur one another on.... Let us not give up meeting together,...but let us encourage one another" (Heb. 10:24,25). We should help to spur one another on!
A few years ago I spent ten days traveling throughout South Korea speaking in churches about "Bible reading revival." It was physically challenging and spiritually exhilarating, but for me the most rewarding part was working with three colleagues from Scripture Union South Korea. We prayed together, ate together, stayed overnight in homes together and shared a lot of windshield time traveling together. I discovered that the day-to-day experience of living with those committed to the same ministry made us more effective as a mission team.
Our passage today gives us a glimpse into the mission-team experience of the apostle Paul. Luke introduces seven men who traveled with Paul and whose job was to prepare the way for his ministry efforts (5). From today's vantage point, it may look as if Paul was the main player in the first-century church, but he couldn't have been as effective without a "band of brothers" like this. Today, it's easy to focus on the work of a few Christian leaders. We should be thankful for those who attempt great things for God, but we should not overlook the importance of anonymous mission teams. God does great things through them too. Plus, he uses the mission-team experience to refine our faith in ways few other Christian activities can. Paul seems to value his team highly, since he made a special point of encouraging them (1,2).
Our passage ends with a realistic detail from this missionary journey (7-12). Poor Eutychus fell from the window and in so doing became the patron saint of sleepy churchgoers ever since. But Paul's belief that God would intervene, and his ability to stay on message after the interruption, show just how focused on ministry he was. That's what makes both individuals and teams effective for God.
Apply: What Christian groups are you part of now? What would it take to move them from being a "Christian group" to a "mission team"?
Lord, I thank You for those who have come alongside me as I journey with You. Show me someone I can encourage as they follow You.