He [Paul] was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Berea, Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy also, and Tychicus and Trophimus from the province of Asia.
Acts 20:4 (NIV)
Read: Acts 20:1-12
Consider: Today’s reading from Acts begins with the words: When the uproar had ended (Acts 20:1). To understand the context of what we read today, we need to go back to Acts 19 where we discover that the ‘uproar’ is described as ‘… a great disturbance …’ (19:23). Ephesus was the city where a temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis was to be found and where the silversmiths made a good living making and selling images of the goddess. Fearing for their livelihood, the silversmiths created an uproar in the city that led to Gaius and Archistarchus (two of Paul’s companions) being taken into the city’s amphitheatre. Things only quietened down after the intervention of the city clerk and the crowd dispersed.
It is against this background that Paul and his companions leave Ephesus and head to Macedonia and then Greece, in their mission to share the good news of the gospel with the Gentiles..
As you considered today’s reading you probably passed over the names of those who accompanied Paul on this missionary journey. Sopater, Aristarchus, Secondus, Gaius, Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus are all mentioned. Some like Aristarchus, Gaius and Timothy are mentioned elsewhere in Acts and in some of the Epistles. We know Timothy received two letters from Paul, while Gaius received a personal letter from John where he is described as ‘… my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth’ (3 John 1:1).
The point is that while all are mentioned in Acts 20, not all of them appear elsewhere in the Bible record. Are these people forgotten? No! They don’t just disappear from history. In truth even if they were not mentioned in the Bible, God knows who they are and how they have served him. In 1 Corinthians 8:3 we read: But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. This is reiterated by Paul in his second letter to Timothy where he says: The Lord knows those who are his (2 Timothy 2:19).
If you ever feel insignificant and unimportant and that your service in the church is not recognised, it is good to keep in mind that the Lord does indeed know those who are his and that whatever you do for him will not be forgotten.
Pray: Father, forgive us when we think that our deeds in your service are not recognised. May we take encouragement from the fact that you know who we are and how we serve you. Amen