Godly Relationships Are Precious
As far as we know, these are the last words written by the Apostle Paul. They are all about Paul’s Christian fellow-workers. They served together in the different parts of the Lord’s ‘family business’ – the church. Priscilla and Aquilla were Jewish exiled from Rome (Acts 18:2-3) to Corinth but who travelled with Paul to Ephesus (Acts 18:19). There they taught Apollos who became another travelling missionary preacher (Acts 18:24-27).
Onesiphorus had helped Paul in prison; he presumably died in Rome because Paul was concerned for his family in Ephesus (2 Timothy 1:16). Erastus was an old co-worker with Timothy (Acts 1:22), sent by Paul to build up the church in Corinth. Trophimus was a Gentile convert from Ephesus (Acts 21:29). Of the others, we know nothing. But these gentle pastoral verses show that Paul cared for widows and orphans, prayed for the sick, and could not stop being eager that the gospel should be preached. And he longed for the company of his faithful assistant Timothy and his spiritual welfare, committing him to the grace of God.
The Christian life is intended to be lived in relationship with God and His church. These should be relationships where the gospel of Christ controls the agenda, the love of Christ enables mutual giving and the grace of Christ strengthens us. The Apostle Paul was a preacher, evangelist, pastor, writer, team leader and strategic missionary; but he was also a humble tentmaker, an uncomplaining sufferer and content to be on ‘death row’ for the sake of Christ. He understood the meaning of love – giving out of a full heart, personally assured that God’s love for him could never fail. So, without self-pity, he continued to strengthen others even though his own death was near. Godly relationships are precious and need to be maintained well. As Christ has a heart for others, so must we also.
© Dr Paul Adams