Always By our Side
The Apostle Paul did many great things but was careful to express appreciation for all the people who assisted him. He mentioned several faithful workers who traveled with him and worked alongside him for the long haul in his missionary work. Phoebe labored much in the church and community. Paul appreciated her being a helper. Priscilla and Aquila risked their lives by publicly professing faith in Christ and allowing church services to be held in their home.
When Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he said, “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house,” (Romans 16:3-5). A host of people worked with Paul including Barnabas, Silas and Timothy as well as people not named. The early churches grew through the joint efforts of small groups pulling together to build church fellowships. Paul was blessed with many faithful co-workers who helped bring the good news of Jesus to people in many places.
Nevertheless, Paul wasn’t married and at times served God all alone. When Paul was called before the authorities for preaching the Gospel, sometimes everybody ran away in fear and left him all alone. “At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:16-18).
In every situation, believers know God is with us as he was with the Israelites across a barren land for the long haul. “The Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people,” (Exodus 13:21-22). As long as they needed the miracle, God provided it. Today, God continues to dwell with us by His Holy Spirit and through the written word of the Bible. God is with us always and forever.
Bill Kent, Religion Columnist