Friday, February 05, 2010

Acts 20:1-12, brief thoughts

From Ephesus, Paul went to Macedonia and Achaia/Greece, then over to Asia. Some of the disciples had gone ahead and were already there when he (and at least Luke) arrived five days later. After spending about a week there, they continued on their journey.

"We are laborers together"
Acts 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.

It may be that many of us emphasize Paul so much that we forget that on most occasions he had traveling companions who labored and ministered with him. Verse 4 names those who went before him into Asia. Paul was an apostle, and fulfilled the ministry God gave him. But let us also remember that all have gifts differing according to the grace that is given to them and the Spirit of God gives to every man as He will. Thus, all to whom this grace is given are "laborers together with God". Therefore we ought not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. Verse 4 reminds us that God calls each to his own calling, and each should fulfill that calling (and labor together with God).

"Not forsaking the assembling"
Act 20:7 begins "...upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together..." Regardless of their travels, the disciples took time to come together, worship together, study together, break bread together. The manner of some may be to forsake assembling. But a church IS an assembly; she should assemble. We do so for the good of ourselves and for one another. Some dictatorial pastors press this upon their members as a burden to bear -- be here every time the doors are open, don't be on vacation on Sunday, don't, don't, don't (and then they schedule their vacations and are gone). But the Lord's people have a desire to see one another, to assemble on the first day of the week and exhort one another, edify one another, teach one another. Verse 7 reminds us to come together.


Anonymous said...

After reading this, I immediately thought of the recitation-type song from the 1960's, "Pastor Absent on Vacation," by Porter Wagoner. It told the story of a weary traveller who was seeking spiritual rest one Sunday morning. He felt hopeful for a moment as he saw a little church in view. Yet he was disappointed when he reached the steps. On the door, a sign read, "Pastor Absent On Vacation, Church is Closed til His Return."

Assembly is vital in one way or another. It does not even have to be a designated church building, as the custom was once to meet in one another's homes. Some still do this, most notably the Amish. If we have the opportunity, let us take advantage of it. Some are not as fortunate as others.

R. L. Vaughn said...

When I read this, I couldn't help but think that some pastors in the pulpit are on vacation, and that some very active churches are actually "closed".