“Paul left Athens and went to Corinth.” (Acts 18:1)
With all of its sermons, conversions, miracles, and travels, the Book of Acts gives us a bird’s eye view of the early church. It doesn’t give us the full stories of all the heroes and heroines of that first generation of Christians. To paraphrase what John said about his Gospel, “there wouldn’t be enough books in the entire world” to write down all those stories (John 21:25)!
Think, for example, about Barnabas. He was instrumental in starting Paul on his apostolic career, introducing him to the Apostles and journeying with him for a time (Acts 9:27; 13:1-3). But we don’t hear much more about him after that point.
Think, too, about Priscilla and Aquila. We meet them in today’s reading, recently arrived in Corinth after being ordered out of Italy by the emperor Claudius. They welcomed Paul into their home and worked beside him during his stay. Later on, they meet Apollos, realize he is not teaching the full Gospel, and invite him into their home to train him more fully. Later in the New Testament, we learn that they traveled with Paul, and on at least one occasion risked their lives for him (Romans 16:3-4). They were a generous couple, opening their home to church services and constantly nurturing new believers in the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:19).
Finally, think of the many people whose names are listed at the end of many of Paul’s letters—people like Epaenetus, Mary, Andronicus, Junias, Ampliatus, Urbanus, Stachys, Apelles, Aristobulus, Herodion, and Narcissus (Romans 16:3-11).
So many names—so many people—so many stories! And each one of them was essential to the growth and success of God’s work. And so are we! There is no such thing as nonessential support staff in the kingdom of God. There are no second-tier builders of the church—at least not in God’s eyes. He has a perfect plan for each of us. We will make a difference in the world as we embrace the calling God has for us. Regardless of whether or not we are in the spotlight, our faithfulness is crucial. The kingdom of God depends on it!
“Holy Spirit, thank you for all the heroes of the faith! And thank you for calling me to be a hero, too. Help me to follow your lead.”