Apollos was a Jew, a native of Alexandria, an eloquent speaker and an authority on the Scriptures. We are told he had been instructed in the Way of the Lord and with ardent spirit, spoke and taught accurately about Jesus. Wow, he sounds like a person we could all benefit from knowing.
There is something even more important about Apollos that could make us be more successful in spreading the message of Jesus Christ if we follow his example. Apollos was well educated and successful in his preaching and teaching, nevertheless, he was open to learning from those more experienced than himself. When Priscilla and Aquilla took him aside to offer advice he was grateful and saw it as a learning experience. When the brothers opened a pathway for him to continue to spread the good news of Jesus the Christ, he was excited to expand his travels and was highly successful in bringing more followers into the fold.
Jesus reminds us in the gospel today of the importance of being willing to ask God for what we need. Sometimes we do this in prayer, other times we are called to listen to the people that God places in our lives. Oftentimes these are the people we call family, friend, teacher, pastor, spiritual director, etc. They support, challenge, teach and love us into the person we are called to be. We don’t often want to ask direction, to be challenged, or to ask advice of others, because in our humanness we may think we know it all. Sometimes the degrees we proudly earn become the beacon for our success and give us a false sense of security, sending a message to others that we have all the answers.
When I reflect back on my forty plus years I have spent in serving God’s people as a pastoral minister, I know my success in pastoring and mentoring has been due in large part to all of those pastors, colleagues, teachers, parents, students and so many others who mentored me and taught me that it was okay not to have all the answers, and even more importantly, to listen to those who have walked the path before me. I earned my degrees through hard work and a few sleepless nights, and I am proud of those experiences, but the best teachers have been those I met on the road, the ordinary folks who invited me into their homes, hospital rooms, classrooms, sanctuaries, soup kitchens, justice marches.
I asked God for what I thought I wanted, and God has always given me what I needed! Apollos was a faithful disciple of Jesus along with the sisters and brothers throughout the early church. They all enjoyed tremendous success in building up the early Christian communities because they were open to listening to one another and keeping an open mind and a loving heart before them always. We would do well to do the same! Amen!
Theresa Secord recently retired as a Pastoral Associate at St. Agnes Parish, Louisville, Kentucky.