The Biblical book of Acts introduces a character named Apollos. He was Jewish, like Paul, eloquent, unlike Paul, and didn’t write any world class epistles, also unlike Paul.
He was the kind of guy made for television or the Net, but sadly for him the ephemeral media was several thousand years away. Apollos was “fervent in spirit” and knew truths about Jesus, but not the full story. He listened to further teaching and become a strong advocate for Christianity. In his day, he was popular enough that some people described themselves as “of Apollos.”
Safe to say his fame faded so that our knowledge of him is dependent on his intersection with Paul’s story.
My grandfather once was talking to a local West Virginia minister, puffed up on his own local fame, and said to this local pastor: “Well, they do not make many men like Paul.” and this great man puffed up his chest and said, “You are looking at one.”
He wasn’t and he wasn’t.
Paul is rare. Paul says to “be like him,” but other than suffering like he suffered I have found that too difficult. Paul wrote Romans, a book so well argued, and so profound, that by itself it refutes those who fail to take the Bible seriously. Paul may be wrong, but like Plato when he is wrong he is more interesting than most people’s right. When I am right, I am usually dull, if Paul is ever wrong, he inspires loads of blogging to quibble.
Apollos on the other hand strikes me as useful, but not so much in the long run. He did what he could, and sometimes it was good, but he faded over time. He was there at the start when names could be made . . . and faded away compared to Paul. And that is what I love about him. He was educable and knew real talent and anointing when he saw it and as a result became useful for the cause.
If you think you are Paul, then you are mad. but if you aspire to be Apollos then there is hope. Paul gets the gifts, he gets everything but the girl, and Apollos gets to learn. That is not such a bad thing after all. Apollos didn’t get the prize, but he got to serve Jesus.
I sometimes wonder if I love Jesus or the rewards Jesus brings. The problem with being God is that it so wonderful to be near you, motivations become clouded. You are beautiful, good, and full of awesome joy . . . and so people may not love You for Yourself, but for what they can get. Like a wealthy man, God knows many of his “friends” are in it for the stuff, but He goes on loving us all anyway. Like a parent who knows that Christmas for his little kids is really about the presents, God knows maturity will bring better things.
So here is the truth: I am not gifted like Paul, I am not the prize winner, but I can be an earnest student. I can learn from the Paul’s of our time and contribute. We all can. And when we get to Jesus, the real object of our lives, we will discover so much super-abundant love nothing can stop us!