Trying To Measure Up?
When I read about some of the people in Scripture, I think, “I’d love to hang out with him. He seems like the kind of guy I’d like to serve on some ministry team with. If he were alive today, we might even be friends.”
Peter is one of those guys. David is another. Talented guys with a lot of flaws, men with a lot of passion who mess up quite regularly. I could picture going backpacking with Peter or David—sitting around the campfire telling jokes, laughing, talking less about ourselves and more about the Lord late into the night. I’d feel comfortable with either one of them.
Then there are those others, the ones I think would intimidate me, or make me feel shallow. Joseph is the first one I think of from the Old Testament. Perfect Joseph. How’d you like to sit around a campfire with him talking about his visions, and how he always runs from temptation, and how he was his father’s favorite, and how he did everything perfectly in prison, and how God made him Prime Minister? I’d probably turn in early, go to my tent, and shame!
In the New Testament, it’s Apollos. Listen to the way Luke introduces him:
“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord…” (Acts 18:24-25).
How would you like to be on a ministry team with that guy? I can just picture it. Apollos stands before the crowd, wows them with his eloquence, and says profound and mighty things about the Bible I never even thought of. Then he says, “And now, here’s my partner, Ed Underwood. Ed’s from Bakersfield, California, and he…, and…, he’s a good guy.”
I stand up and do what I usually do. Make up a few new words like “sacrificiously,” talk too long, and go over the top with demonstrative passion that embarrasses Judy. I walk back to my seat wondering:
“Did I spit on the people in the first row?”
“Why did those three people leave in the middle of my talk?”
“I didn’t accidentally say something inappropriate, did I?”
As I take my seat next to Apollos, he smiles reassuringly and says something to make me feel better. What he doesn’t realize is that these few kind sentences in private remind me once again that he thinks of things and says things, (even when he’s not trying!), that are better than the things I think and say on my best day.
The truth is that I have a lot of real-life Apolloses that I’m never going to measure up to.
And so do you. You’re thinking of them right now, aren’t you?
Who’s Your Apollos?
Here’s what you and I can do; it’s right there in the verses describing Apollos. We might not be eloquent and mighty in speech, but we can be fervent in spirit and speak and teach the things of the Lord accurately. Fervent in spirit, or literally “boiling over in spirit” means being full of enthusiasm. And of course, accurately means, well, accurately.
God’s not asking us to measure up to the Apolloses in our lives. He’s just asking us to study His word and teach it accurately, and to live full of enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus.
If we’re doing that, He’s okay with us making up a word or two along the way. Maybe He even smiles when a guy from Bakersfield encourages people to give “sacrificiously.”
Question: How hard is it for you to pray for your “Apollos,” that God would bless them in their service to Him?