Thursday, May 18, 2017
A Humble Supporter
Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we were to sail for Italy, they transferred Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort, named Julius. 2 Embarking on a ship of Adramyttium that was about to set sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica.
Luke provides us with a narrative of Paul’s journey to Rome. It appears that Luke is traveling with Paul, as well as Aristarchus. This portrayal of the journey allows us to have a glimpse of what it means to be a Christian in the world. For Luke and Aristarchus to travel with Paul to Rome would have been out of the ordinary. Luke may have gotten permission as Paul’s physician, but Aristarchus, coming as a voluntary companion of a prisoner, may have had to submit himself as Paul’s slave to be allowed to come on the journey. He has been a faithful companion through many difficult circumstances. He was present during the riots in Ephesus and then travels with Paul to Macedonia. Later we find him present with Paul in Rome for he is mentioned in the letter to the Colossians and Philemon. This man was a humble supporter of Paul who appears to have done whatever was necessary to further the ministry of the great Apostle. He is an unsung hero who remains faithful.
Only a few people in this world will have their fifteen minutes of fame, while most will live their lives in anonymity. Paul may have become very well known, but he had a whole team of supporters who helped him in his ministry. Aristarchus is one of those names that we hardly ever hear mentioned and yet, I would suspect that he was extremely vital to the ministry of Paul. He humbled himself to be able to further Paul’s work. He offered himself as a slave and willingly set sail with prisoners. More than likely he lived with Paul in his imprisonment in Rome. One wonders whether the ministry of Paul could have been as effective without Aristarchus.
Kingdom work requires many humble supporters, those whose names may not become well-known. Aristarchus becomes an example of one who is reflecting the image of Jesus Christ by humbling himself to serve others. This is exactly what Jesus did for all of us, but humbling himself and giving up his status to provide a pathway for our salvation. When we follow our Lord, then we find ourselves being challenged to accept the role of humble supporter. Even going out of our way to make it possible for others to serve with their gifts and talents in the kingdom. Being willing to suffer so that others might be more effective. Giving up our seat at the table so that the work may continue into a new future which God has in store.
Sometimes the little known workers in the kingdom are the ones who will make an eternal difference. We are to live faithfully, emptying ourselves in service to one another for the sake of the kingdom.
Lord, open my eyes to the places and the ones whom I can serve. Amen.