Day 50: Lean Into The Team (Acts 21:1-26)
Today’s Passage: Acts 21:1-26
Hero’s—we love them. I am writing this at 40,000 feet and the in-flight options are full of movies with heroes.
When we were young, many of us ran around pretending to be super-hero’s, replete with cape!
However, our real-world situations reveal that most people who are highly successful (again in real life and not the movies) have a great support team. They may be in the spotlight, but there are coaches and spouses and any number of folks, that help and encourage them.
I wonder if we see the team God has surrounded us with? Do we see our fellowship with other believers as the team God has placed us in, a team He wants us to be in?
Why do I bring this up? Because I am wondering what you are thinking about good-old St. Paul. Commentators love to idolize him. And the way God used him wasamazing. Yet, this is a trap. When we put him on a pedestal, there is an unintended consequence for many of us.
Some of us will see ourselves as inadequate. We tell ourselves that we cannot compare with the likes of Paul of Tarsus. Worse, we actually conclude that he did this—all by himself.
Let’s correct that thought—God did it working through an imperfect human—someone who was responsible for the death of Jesus’ followers. God did it through a person who was surrounded by others who similarly cared about Paul, and the work of the Lord.
What strengthened Paul in his journey was fellowship: with God and with other brothers and sisters.
We read today a sweep of the Christian fellowship he experienced along every stop he made. In Tyre they found disciples and stayed with them seven days (21:4). In Ptolemais they greeted their sisters and brothers and stayed with them one day (7). In Caesarea they were accommodated in the home of Philip the evangelist and stayed with him ‘a number of days’ (8, 10). The disciples from Caesarea then personally escorted Paul and his party to Jerusalem, where they were to stay with an early convert Mnason (16), and on arrival in Jerusalem the sisters and brothers ‘received [them] warmly’ (17).
Further, consider the meeting with James. All the elders were there. After Paul gives a positive report, James makes a point that there are thousands of Jews who are following Jesus—remember that means they are still keeping the Jewish Laws. The potential for the opposite of fellowship is very real—and yet look at James—he not only receives Paul, he also has a plan to keep him safe.
The point is straightforward. Paul, as he sought to follow Jesus’ call on his life, would have not gotten to half the places he hoped were there not brothers and sisters to be in fellowship with.
We, as we seek to follow Jesus’ call on our lives, won’t accomplish half of what God intends without the fellowship of brothers and sisters in our lives.
Please note I wrote “accomplish what God intends”. Alone, I tend to make things all about me. With others, I am more inclined to stay with God. We shouldn’t try and walk with Jesus alone.
I noted I was writing this at 40,000 feet. I am just coming back from a trip that is looking to share the love of Jesus with Indonesia. What did I do? I met with Jesus’ followers. They welcomed me, they educated me, they encouraged me. We prayed and planned. We are amazed by what God is doing—we are filled with hope.