The Story, Chapter 29, Paul's Mission
Have you noticed that in the last few years movies don't end when you think they do? Oh, there will be an ending, but after the credits role for a few minutes there will be some outtakes or additional scenes. I've found myself standing up, brushing the popcorn off me, and ready to go only to take my seat again to see these usually entertaining postscripts.
I don’t have any insider information why producers do this, but I suspect that they reserve these scenes so we'll stay and watch the names of the many people who have made that movie possible - and it does take a bunch of people! I'm amazed at all the work that goes into making a movie, and usually the only ones we give credit to are the stars of the movie and maybe the producer and director.
The same can be said of the early church. Most of us can name the main characters - Peter and Paul. Outside of them we might be able to blurt out a few more names, but most of those are lost in the shadows of the great ones!
This week while reading The Story I intentionally circled all the lesser known characters as a reminder to me that the church didn’t rise on the backs of just a few individuals, but that it took a host of faithful believers to get the message out. The chapter is even titled Paul's Mission, but this is hardly the work of one man. In his shadows are scores of hard-working, courageous, selfless men and women who are used by God to share with the world the life-saving message of Jesus.
So, take a seat and let's give credit to Barnabas and Mark. And don’t forget the roles played by Timothy and Silas. And there's the husband and wife duo of Priscilla and Aquila. Then there's Lydia, Jason, Titius Justus, and Apollos. And that's hardly a complete list. In fact, at the end of many of Paul's letters you can see lists of others without whom the mission would never have been accomplished.
Chapter 29 may be a record of Paul's mission, but it really is all of ours. Although our names may not don the marquees or be preserved in history, we too are critical players in this divine drama. So, find your role, listen to the director, and listen to the challenge - Lights, Camera, Action!!