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Don't Go Alone

2 Corinthians 2:12-13
Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia. (NIVUK)

Paul almost always chose to share ministry with at least one other person. Initially Barnabas took Paul on his first missionary journey as instructed by the Holy Spirit and affirmed by the church (Acts 13:1-3). However, after preaching the length of Cyprus (Barnabas' home country) Paul emerged as the missionary leader (Acts 13:13) with Barnabas alongside until they got back to Antioch (Acts 14:23-28). After that Paul teamed up with Silas (Acts 15:40), Timothy (Acts 16:1-5), Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1-3) and many others. Even when Paul was in prison he was allowed visits from believers: some became his secretaries as Paul dictated his Epistles.

In today's verses, Titus is mentioned (also in 2 Corinthians 7:13-14; 8:16, 23; Galatians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:10 and in Paul's letter to Titus). He seems to have been a trusted administrator, taking the money offering from churches in Greece to Jerusalem) as well as being a pastoral leader for the church in Crete. Now, Titus had recently visited Corinth and Paul wanted to hear good news from him in response to his prayers and letters. So Paul travelled north from Ephesus to the sea-port of Troas hoping to meet Titus.

There was plenty of opportunity for Paul to preach in Troas; many people were hungry to hear about Jesus. But Titus was not there and Paul could not settle to ministry alone, or with his weighty concern for Corinth unresolved. So, the apostle left Troas by ship, probably to go to Neapolis in Macedonia which seems to have been one of Paul's bases. Shortly after Paul arrived there, Titus came from Corinth with very good news about the Corinthians' repentance, and also they were sorry that they had caused Paul pain by their behaviour (2 Corinthians 7:5-7; 13-16).

In contrast to the solo prophets of the Old Testament, the New Testament sees the apostles and believers working together in fellowship and going out in teams. That was Jesus' method of ministry (Luke 10:1). True Christian ministry requires believers to pray and work together. Solo ministries can be more of a liability rather than a blessing to the church, because 'solo players' have nobody to help them calibrate their thinking; they can become detached from spiritual reality. Ministry fellowship is also necessary for effective prayer (Matthew 18:19-20), to serve without personal agendas and to support each other in times of hardship. The Lord may prepare you in isolation, but if you think you can serve the Lord without any fellowship, you are wrong. Get into a godly team, even if there are only two of you. Then encourage and support each other and let the Lord lead you into service.

Missionary God. Thank You that Jesus enjoyed the fellowship of the Holy Spirit as well as the disciples. Forgive me for ever thinking that I do not need the fellowship of other believers. Please help me identify a prayer partner and people with whom I can work for You; then help us to be active in prayer and in Your service. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams