As you read through the New Testament you will notice over and over how many friends the Apostle Paul had working with him. Even during the times when he was in prison, he had faithful men and women who partnered with him for the sake of the gospel. Team ministry is important. God has designed us to live in harmony and grow in community. We are to love others and be loved. To encourage others and be encouraged. To care for others and be cared for. To give empathy and receive it. To be accountable, affectionate, generous, vulnerable, and social. That's why the local church is so important. One of the great encouragements of life is the realization that we don't fight this battle alone.
I recently came across a news article entitled, “Loneliness is a bigger threat to your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day." The article went on to say that even with all the social media and digital interactions we have on a daily basis we are lonelier than ever. As great as technology is, it doesn't replace our need for developing actual meaningful face-to-face relationships.
In 2 Timothy 4, we see a vulnerable portrait of Paul when he is in need of help. In addition to his physical needs, Paul is lonely, and heartbroken over the desertion of his friend and colleague, Demas, who has left him to pursue the things of this world. I'm sure we all know a Demas or two that fits that same description. Thankfully, Paul doesn't linger long on the situation with Demas but quickly pivots to mention five faithful friends who were actively making a difference for the kingdom.
Loved ones, there is a great need in our church right now to develop relationships with those whom God is bringing. Invite a visitor out to lunch after the service. Join one of our activity groups, get involved in a Bible study, and join the church. There are many opportunities to build into the lives of others and allow them to build into you!
Pastor Brian Richard