Like Paul’s friends, we sometimes assume Christian leaders don’t need our support.
2 Timothy 4:9-18
9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:
10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.
13The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.
16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
As a prisoner in a Roman jail, Paul felt disappointment over being deserted in his hour of great need. The apostle was defending himself before a tribunal and would be put to death if the court decided against him. Yet of the many people whose lives he had touched, not one was present to support him.
There are plenty of logical reasons to explain why Paul’s friends and the converts he had won to the Lord were absent. For example, the witnesses in a Roman court were frequently counted as co-conspirators and shared the fate of the accused. No one wanted the death sentence that might result from standing up for Paul.
I think there was also a more subtle cause, to which many modern believers can relate. When Paul’s loved ones looked at him, they saw a spiritual giant whose faith could withstand any challenge. They may have thought to themselves, He doesn’t need my help or support.
And don’t we do the same thing when it comes to our pastors, Bible teachers, and other spiritual leaders? We judge the depth of someone else’s faith and take for granted that such a mature Christian can face what lies ahead. However, every single person has human frailties and moments when his or her faith wavers.
Paul knew that God would take care of him, but he still desired a friend’s touch, words of encouragement, and the physical presence of loved ones. Do not assume that another person can do without your aid and friendship. Believers are called to minister to each other (1 Thess. 5:11).
In Touch Ministries