I think I would like to be part of the Rebel Alliance. I wouldn’t want to be part of the Galactic Empire. Look how the Storm troopers are treated. If they are dead, then their bodies are moved off the battlefield. If they are injured, they are fixed up and set right back to the battlefield. There doesn’t seem to be any compassion for Storm troopers.
Ah, but the Rebel Alliance has some good stuff going on. You had Obi-Won Kenobi come alongside Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Leia. With “Old Ben’s” wisdom, these traveling companions helped to overthrow the Galactic Empire. Even in “The Force Awakens,” Han Solo and Chewbacca travel alongside Finn and Rey. Even Leia and Luke are sought out for their leadership to keep the First Order at bay.
The ability of the older generation in the Star Wars saga to travel alongside the younger generation is a good model for the church. I don’t mean we teach new disciples how to use the force, light sabers, or any sort of telekinesis. But there are important matters for us to speak about. We long-timers in the church can give much encouragement to the new disciples. If the new or younger disciples haven’t sought you out yet, then what is keeping you from seeking them?
A. Who are your traveling companions? (20:1-6)
1. Paul leaves Ephesus for Macedonia
2. Along the way, he encourages the believers
3. The situation changed for Paul, so he adjusted – what an idea for us at times!
4. Paul’s traveling companions
a. Sopater of Beroea –
b. Aristarchus (martyred in Rome) & Secundus from Thessalonica
c. Gaius from Derbe
d. Timothy (encouraged the Thessalonians)
e. Tychicus (worked with Onesimus) & Trophimus from Asia
f. It might be Luke the physician and Titus who joined the party in Troas (??)
5. Worshiping with and eating with his traveling companions allowed Paul time to pass on his knowledge of faith in Jesus. I have had several clergy who have been an encouragement to me. With my weekly Lectionary group, I have a group to question and encourage my faith. My wife, my closest traveling companion, well, we’ll just say she makes my faith stronger! Then as your pastor, I have been able to encourage many folk in their faith through the Youth Confirmation and the Adult membership classes. What about you, who are your traveling companions? Who have you been encouraging in their faith in Jesus?
B. Why is the idea of traveling companions so important? (20:7-12)
1. When we eat together, we can chat about following Jesus
2. For Paul, this fellowship time and discussing Jesus could go all night!
3. Eutychus – fell asleep and fell 3 floors to the ground
4. Paul said Eutychus, “Lucky,” was alive!
5. Paul keeps on using words to explain matters of faith in Jesus
6. Yes, when one of Paul’s brothers in the faith fell out of the window, everyone went to check on him. What do we do when one of our brothers or sisters in the faith fall out of the windows? Do we go and check on them? Do we even text or call to see how they are doing? Like Eutychus, our brothers and sisters who we haven’t seen in a while still have life in them. Maybe it is time for us to call, text, or visit those who have fallen out of the window. We might not have done this before, this checking in on our traveling companions. But it is necessary. How else are we going to encourage other believers if we are not checking in on them?
The Rebel Alliance did encourage each other as they traveled together. By encouraging each other, the Rebel Alliance was able to overcome evil and teach the younger people how to live. The Galactic Empire just used up everybody, thus leading to its defeat.
What does this matter for Gladeville/Mt. Olivet? As we are travelling together, we want others to check in on us. So, it is a good idea for us to check on those traveling companions we haven’t seen in a while. For I believe we want to encourage each other as we travel through this world together. It will be better for us to overcome evil and to teach the younger people about faith in Jesus.
If you don’t have someone’s address or phone number, then ask for it. If you know where a traveling companion lives, then check on them. If you want to encourage someone in their faith, then start this week.