Acts 20:4-6 (HCSB)
4 He was accompanied by Sopater, son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia.5 These men went on ahead and waited for us in Troas,6 but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread. In five days we reached them at Troas, where we spent seven days.
It is football season – one of my favorite times of the year. I love college and high school football (I could care less about pro football). One of the reasons I love this sport (along with my favorite, soccer) is because of the team nature. Successful football teams have 11 guys who have harnessed their own God-given talents and combined them with others. The team that works the hardest and works best together usually wins.
Did you know that team is God’s idea? He started the world with team. Of course, we call it family now, but it is the same thing. Everyone in the home pools their resources and talents for the good of the group. Family members set aside selfish motives for the team and facilitate and cheer for their fellow team members’ success. Families which do this well tend to be the happiest and healthiest. And when God wanted to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus, he pulled together another team. We call it church now.
That old acronym is apt: T.E.A.M. Together everyone accomplishes more. The Apostle Paul was a great team captain. Luke tells us here about his team:
- Timothy – a Jewish convert to Christianity from Lystra
- The Gentiles Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia (but probably Ephesus, Acts 29:21)
- Sopater from Beroea, probably a Jewish convert to Christianity (Acts 17:10ff)
- The Gentiles Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica
- Gaius from Derbe (Gentile?)
- And of course the Gentile Luke (notice the “we” in this passage)
There are a couple of interesting facts about this team. First, you notice its diversity – Christian men with both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. Second, you notice that reading the list above is like looking at a map of Paul’s travels. Apparently in each town Paul stopped to minister, he also added to his team. Paul was a good recruiter. Finally, you’ll run into many of these individual team members later in Acts carrying out missions for the church. Once they proved their worth to the team, they were sent out to start their own teams (e.g. Timothy becomes pastor of the church in Ephesus).
So, team, let’s work together. Our team is diverse: young, old, female, male, black, white, and everything in between. We all have different gifts and talents. When we use these together for the common purpose of glorifying God and not ourselves, our team moves the ball forward. As we go, we should be looking for and recruiting new team members – not only being disciples but discipling others. When we do this, we’re scoring touchdowns for the Kingdom.