Hi everyone! I’m currently in Seattle for my oldest brother Luke’s wedding. He is marrying a beautiful woman named Robyn and we are so excited to have her as a part of our family. It has been a high about about 70 degrees here all week- you can’t beat summer in Seattle! We return in a couple of days to Tampa.
This week’s chapter was on the longer side of what we’ve read so far. This chapter explored much of Paul’s journey. It followed much of his story as told in the book of Acts while interjecting excerpts from his letters at the appropriate times in his journey.
Two things really resonated with me.
1. Paul did not have a career; he had a mission from God.
Paul was relentless. He was so transformed by his encounter with Christ that he spent the rest of his life starting churches in various cities. He supported himself through a traveling tentmaking business and through the financial support of those churches. Paul could have chosen an easier life. Instead, Paul preached an unpopular message to skeptical audiences who sometimes threw him in jail.
But after encountering the risen Christ- there was no other way for Paul.
Paul would generally spend a couple of years in each city as he worked to start the new churches. He would send letters to the churches that he previously formed. Many of these letters are now captured in the New Testament. I am so grateful to have his words saved in our Bible.
2. Paul was not the only missionary. I always enjoy the story of Paul and Apollos.
Apollos is described as “a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.”
Apollos is traveling and teaching about Jesus in a similar way to Paul. He apparently creates quite a following. Before long early Christians are differentiating themselves based on which Christian leader they follow.
Paul hears of this and writes “One of you says, ‘I follow Paul;” another, “I follow Apollos;” another, “I follow Peter;” still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
And then a bit later…
“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe- as the Lord has assigned each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.”
Paul’s view of ministry is so important. Everyone has a part to play in forming new disciples. Some, like Paul, will be involved in the initial sharing of the word of God. Others will be involved in the ongoing ministry to nurture the new disciple. It is a team effort that no one person can take credit for.
In the end, it is really God at work in us.