Help the Helpers

“Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.” Acts 18:24-28

Apollos was a gem of a man: gifted, winsome, conscientious, and generous in conveying the good news of Jesus. But even he had a ways to grow, and in God’s good providence, he was helped along by his spiritual siblings. Priscilla and Aquila wanted him to be his best and most effective, and sensitively but directly taught him about the Holy Spirit. Others gave encouragement, and he in turn had much to offer those he visited. How sweet it is when the Lord provides brothers and sisters to walk the path of righteousness and ministry alongside us.

Making new disciples, and discipling disciples, both enrich the church of Christ. Even those who are hungry, eager, and capable need instruction and edification. We are all being sanctified by the Spirit and need iron sharpening iron in our daily lives, real people who will challenge, speak truth, and upbuild. (Proverbs 27:17)

Who in our lives confronts our wrong thinking and misdirected energies? Who walks beside to warn of tendencies that could cause stumbling, or point out blind spots? Have we sought out, or opened ourselves to, those who will help us grow in Christ’s likeness, even if it stings? Do we hide away in a self-made superiority bubble above everyone else, or will we humble ourselves enough to ask for honest refinement and chastening? How willing are we to listen to opposing views, and consider that we might actually be wrong? (Luke 18:9-14; 2 Timothy 2:24-26)

And in whom are we investing? We are commanded to encourage one another, to spur one another on to love and good deeds, to help the weak and share good things with those who teach us. What makes us reluctant to do our part? Are we too comfy to be bothered? Do we hide smugness behind false humility, and neglect our call as Christian brothers and sisters? (Romans 15:1; Galatians 6:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Hebrews 10:24-25)

When we make ourselves available to be both chiseled and used by God, He will give opportunities. He uses other people as a mirror to reveal sin tendencies in us, and us as a spotlight to expose error in them. God faithfully, skillfully, and graciously sanctifies us through the give and take of mutual edification. We grow by both giving and receiving, we learn by both teaching and being taught. (Romans 14:19)

Good Father, keep me hungering to be helped and a helper. Employ me as Your instrument of holiness, and apply those instruments to me. May my life reflect Your grace and Your graces in abundance, for the building up of Your church and exaltation of Your name.

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