Ever heard the expression, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” I’m sure there are all kinds of interpretations for those nine words. I won’t even attempt an explanation.
Ministry has its tough times. It brings out the best and the worst in people. Some collapse under pressure and decide ministry is not for them, in fact in some cases they abandon the faith completely. Others remain true to Christ and to others who share the reality of the situation.
In 2 Timothy 1:15-18 Paul contrasts the responses of Phygelus and Hermogenes with that of Onesiphorus. Apart from these few sentences, we don’t have much information about these colleagues of Paul.
Phygelus and Hermogenes
These two men, from the Roman province of Asia had left Paul. “You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.”
Such minimal information,, yet such profound assessment. All Paul’s co-workers had packed it in, leaving the aging missionary to carry the burden alone. For some reason Paul names two, perhaps the most surprising examples of abandonment.
What are we to learn from this text? How faithful are we in supporting godly leaders with whom we associate? Do we pray, purposefully encourage and practically help, or rather do we take ‘potshots’ and prove the feebleness of our gospel commitment? In my next post, I’ll look at Onesiphorus, a supportive member any church would be grateful to have as part of the leadership team.