A man who has a worldwide vision, any man upon whom God has laid a great missionary vision — must have helpers. So, Paul got all the help he could. But he always found people backing out, people who quit when the going got tough, people for whom it was not convenient just then to help Paul win souls.
Barnabas Was Sorry: "Yes, I'm sorry Paul. We had a delightful missionary journey together, and I would like to go on with you in this work throughout the Roman Empire. But I must look after my sister's boy, Mark. I know he quit on us when he got homesick, but he is my nephew, and I feel I must get him back into the work." (Acts 15:36-40)
Demas Was Sorry: "I'm sorry, Paul," said Demas. "I feel I've been a good helper and have worked with you a long time. But I'm not willing to give up all my pleasures and fun." So Paul, the prisoner for the Lord at Rome, wrote to Timothy shortly before he died: "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica." (II Tim. 4:10)
The Corinthians Were Sorry: "We are sorry, Paul," wrote a number of Christians in the church at Corinth. "We know you won us to the Lord. We know you are God's apostle. We've learned a lot since you have been among us. However, we find your bodily presence weak and your speech contemptible. Oh, you write some weighty letters, but we have as good or better preachers among us now. So we bid you goodbye."
Some said, "We are for Apollos, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, a fine preacher — in fact, better than you."
Others said, "We are for Peter, chief of the apostles, the one who preached at Pentecost. And Peter was with Jesus throughout His ministry. Also, he walked on water! Sorry, Paul. We will follow Peter."
Others said, "Paul, you led us to salvation and taught us all we know, but we will follow Christ and not man." (I Corinthians1:12)
The Galatians Were Sorry: "We are sorry, Paul," said some of the Christians at Galatia. "True, when you were here and won us to Christ, we would have plucked out our eyes and given them to you. But now we have learned so much: how to be circumcised and to keep the Sabbath and the ceremonial law. And our stand is more popular with the Jews. We can't help you, Paul, in your worldwide ministry of getting out the Gospel. We have our own program." (Galatians 4:15-18)
Apollos Was Sorry: "I'm so sorry, Paul. I would certainly like to go to Corinth and help out with the new converts there. But it isn't convenient at this time. So it is not my will to go. Sorry, Paul," wrote Apollos. So Paul wrote very sadly, "As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time." (l Corinthians 16:12)
The need for workers is always an issue. Yes, Paul was always striving to get helpers. Thank God he got some, but others got preoccupied and quit. But thank God for Silas, Timothy and Phebe, the servant of the church at Cenchrea, and other fellow laborers who were true and helped Paul carry on the empire wide ministry to which God had called him
May God's blessing be upon you this week as you read and meditate on the first message from the Book of Joshua 4 “What Means these Stones.”
In His Amazing Grace,
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