Who is on your team? By that I want you to think about who are the people you are doing things most often with? In your home, you probably have your own chores that you are expected to do, whereas at school you may have group projects. Have you ever watched a singer perform? Did you know that even though we focus on the singer, there are lots of people who help make the singer’s act possible? From sound to lighting and stage setting, it actually takes a group of people! Even these family devotionals are not done only by me. I have two people who help make them possible. Thank you, Kathy B. and Miranda V.!
As a family, talk about what you think makes a good team? Write down some qualities or skills that you think are important.
Today’s Bible Passage: Acts 20:1-6
Activity materials: A stick, hula hoop, or other light object (You can even roll up paper and tape it).
The Apostle Paul is someone we see and hear from often in the New Testament. His journeys are recorded; we have many of his letters and we understand that in serving Jesus he accomplished many things. But today, I want us to be mindful that Paul did not do it all alone. First, Paul is always quick to remind us that he was only able to do these things because of God (Philippians 4:13), but also, we read that even when Paul was traveling, there were other people that God sent to help support and guide him.
As a family, open your Bible and read today’s passage Acts 20:1-6
(Don’t worry if you struggle with how to say some of the names or places, just try your best.)
In Acts chapter 19, we read about how Paul’s preaching had caused quite a stir in Ephesus. Now, in chapter 20, he is preparing to head out to Macedonia, where he continued to encourage the people there. He stayed in Greece (likely in Corinth) for three months.
In verse 3, we read that there was a plot made against Paul. We do not have any details about it but as a result, Paul changes his travel plans. The main thing I want to focus on is the group of people mentioned in verse 4. This reminds us that not only did people interact with Paul in the places where he went, but even as he traveled, he did not travel alone.
Of these travel companions here is what we know:
About Sopater and Secundus we only know that they traveled with Paul. Trophimus is also referenced elsewhere (Acts 21:29; 2 Timothy 4:20), but little detail is known about him other than that he was from Ephesus.
Aristarchus came to know Christ while he was in Thessalonica. We know that he was with Paul during the uproar in Ephesus (Acts 19:29), and that he continued to travel with Paul (Acts 27:2), and that he was imprisoned with Paul for preaching about Jesus (Colossians 4:10).
Tychicus was with Paul when he wrote his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians and was the one entrusted to carry those letters to the churches (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7). He was a faithful Christian and friend to Paul, and Paul saw him as very important to his ministry. (2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12).
Gaius was a dear friend that would host Paul (Romans 16:23), and he was baptized by Paul (1 Corinthians 1:14).
Timothy was considered Paul’s spiritual son (Philippians 2:22; 1 Timothy 1:18) and was very close to Paul. He traveled with him and was very faithful in his service to the Lord. We also have two personal letters in the Bible from Paul to Timothy that are very encouraging and remind us of how best to encourage the next generation of leaders.
We read in verse 5, that these men went on ahead of Paul and waited for Paul at Troas. But notice that it says “waited for us”, and not just Paul? That is because we believe that Luke, the author of both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts, began to travel with Paul at this time.
As a family, I want you to think about a time when you went on a trip together and think about everybody that was involved in making it happen. For example, there might have been a travel agent, driver/pilot, a person who gave you directions, etc. Try to list everyone you can think of that was involved in making sure you arrived safely at your destination.
The point of today’s passage is a reminder that God does not want us to work alone. Even Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs (Luke 10:1), and it is a reminder that in Christ, we are united together as one body (1 Corinthians 12:27). If we are to successfully serve Him, we must learn to be a great team, working with the people that God brings into our lives. It is only by working together, that we can successfully complete the work that God gives to us.
As a family, I want to encourage you to pray together that everyone might find their home in Jesus Christ; and pray also for peace and unity. Remember that God is the God of peace, and Jesus taught us:
...love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:30-31)
Activity: Team building activity, a helium stick
Required materials: A long, light stick or similar object (hula hoop, rolled up newspaper, etc.)
The point of this activity is to work together as a team to lower a stick to the ground. It sounds easy, but there is a catch. You can only touch the stick with your index fingers. You cannot curl your finger around the stick. Everyone who is participating must put their index fingers on the stick and working together. You must not ever stop touching the stick or let it fall to the ground. The key is to work together by all lowering your fingers at the same time. It can take some practice but it does work.
Why is it called a helium stick? It is often called a helium stick because at first, everyone is so careful to keep their finger on it, that instead of lowering it, it tends to actually go higher, something like a balloon filled with helium.
Below is a funny video, demonstrating how it is done and offering more challenging ways to keep playing.
Click here to see the video
Video by Daniel Arsenault