September 12: Train Others by Experience

Scripture Reading — Acts 20:1-6

“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.” (Acts 20:4)

These are seven men listed who traveled with Paul on the last of his three recorded missionary journeys. Look at them again a little more clearly.

  1. Sopater came from Berea, the city in Macedonia near Thessalonica, where the people were “more noble” than those in Thessalonica in that they received the Word with an open mind and searched the scriptures daily. It was here also that not a few honourable great women and men believed. (Acts 17:1 1, 12) Sopater means “life from father.”
  2. Aristarchus came from Thessalonica. In Acts 27:2 he was with Paul when he was loaded on the ship in Cæsarea to be sent as a prisoner to Rome. In Colossians 4:10 Paul calls him his fellow prisoner. He is also mentioned in Philemon 2:4. Aristarchus means, “the best leader, the best regent.” He had also been arrested in Ephesus and brought into the theatre. (Acts 19:29)
  3. Secundus: He came from Thessalonica and is only mentioned here. His name means “the second.”
  4. Timotheus (Timothy) of Derbe and Lystra was like a son to Paul. His name means, “Honour be to God, honoured by God.”
  5. Gaius of Derbe was mentioned as being Paul’s host in Romans 16:23. He was also arrested in Ephesus with Aristarchus (Acts 19: 29) He was baptized by Paul (I Corinthians 1 : 14) and John III was written to a well-beloved elder by the same name (Gaius). Gaius means “man of this earth.”
  6. Tychicus delivered Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ephesians 6:21) Paul called him a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:21 , 22) He also delivered Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Colossians 4: 7) and was called “a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord:” Paul said he had sent him to know how they were and also to comfort their hearts. In II Timothy 4: 12 he mentions sending him from Rome to Ephesus. When writing to Titus, Paul speaks of sending Tychicus to Titus, so Titus can come to him at Necapolis. (Titus 3:12) His name means “lucky.”
  7. Trophimus: He was an Ephesian. He accompanied Paul on his last journey to Jerusalem when he was arrested. (Acts 21 : 29) Paul tells Timothy that he had to leave him at Miletum, sick. (II Timothy 4:20) His name means “nourished.”

Paul took these men with him to train them for the high calling of God. They were from many different cities, different languages and backgrounds, different ages, and different countries. Paul knew that the best way to give them a missionary vision was to take them with him on his journeys. They suffered with him, were arrested in his place, falsely accused, imprisoned with him, knew sickness, experienced sea voyages, and ship-wrecks, cold and heat, and the joy of serving Me.

Paul trusted them to take his letters (epistles) to the churches and to faithfully give an honest report to the Christians.

I want you to train those whom I have given you by letting them experience your travels, your suffering, your rejection. Experience is the best teacher. Don’t think that anyone is indispensable to their job. I can use any of My vessels in any way I desire.

Some will succeed, others will fail and disappoint you. Do not be hesitant to take with you on your missionary journeys all of those I have called for this purpose.

Please come back and labour with me;
The fields are white, I need you so;
Let us glean the golden harvest;
I need you, this you surely know.

Once we laboured close together,
Hand in hand we sowed the grain,
Smiled and laughed and wept as sisters,
Now, I work alone again.

You said, you’d be my faithful daughter,
Promised you would share my load,
But you’ve skipped off o’er the hill-top;
Left me to walk this lonely road.

Can you hear me calling to you?
Does your heart remember me?
Must I labour till the sunset
Alone, without your company?



Daily Preparations for Perfection by Gwen Shaw
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