Acts 18:23-28: The influence of mentors.

“23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and travelled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervour and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.  27 When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28 For he vigorously refuted his Jewish opponents in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Messiah.” NIV UK

Rob Parsons told a story about a man he knew when he was growing up. This man was part of the same church as Rob. As I recall, he wasn’t someone in the ‘spotlight’; was not a preacher. Yet every week he had Rob round to his house; they played table tennis, ate fish and chips out of newspaper, and he taught Rob the Bible as best he could. In later years, Rob could say to him, ‘Today. I am speaking regularly in large venues, and in the main, it’s down to you!’

This also triggers a memory of a couple I knew at ‘Bridge Street’ church in Leeds. They had no children of their own. John did not have a high profile role in the church. Yet week by week they invited a group of young men back to their small flat, overlooking the Leeds ring road. Hilda plied them with food, and John led them in Bible Study. Both of them showered these boys with loving-kindness. I feel moved as I remember them this morning and think about the Kingdom work they did in their home. God used them to produce a crop of leaders and preachers. They were highly influential, and what a reward must be their’s in heaven. John and Hilda Topham: you were not well-known on earth, but you left behind an enviable legacy, and I, for one,honour your memory!

Memories of Rob’s story, and the mentoring ministry of John and Hilda, surfaced this morning as I read about what Apollos went on to do after Priscilla and Aquila got their hands on him (27, 28). When they saw the giftedness of Apollos, but realised he was not yet the finished article, they didn’t criticise him publicly, or talk about him behind his back. They took him home and helped him there (24-26). Because of their private influence he went on to become a public force.

Many years ago I wrote a magazine article. I was young and a bit naïve at the time. I wanted to be creative, but it wasn’t my finest hour with the pen!!! I realise now that I wrote unwisely (although the editor of the then ‘Elim Evangel’ published it.) A lady from the church where I was a pastor – a godly woman for whom I had the utmost respect – seeing this piece, thought to herself initially, ‘We have a modernist in our pulpit.’ Yet she didn’t really believe it. So she decided, after much prayer I’m sure, to invite her young pastor for breakfast. She gave him one of the very best breakfasts he can remember, and talked to him kindly about her concerns. That lady had style! That’s the way to do it. She acted in the spirit of Priscilla and Aquila to help someone who was in danger of becoming skewed – all with the best of intentions. However, he probably did need a slight nudge to realign his course; a minor re-adjustment. That dear lady delivered it with deftness of touch

How might you use your home, and who can you serve?