What Defines You As A Christian?
Chuck Schultheisz - Aberdeen, WA
“Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus” – 2 Timothy 4:20
At casual glance this is one of those verses (similar to those in Romans 16) that seem worthy of very little attention. We tend to treat such passages as though they are basically worthless to us today. You know how it is when someone starts name-dropping people you’ve never heard of - you tend to tune them out until they come back to a topic of interest and relevance to you personally.
But this passing, seemingly insignificant little verse provokes some pretty interesting thought. If I had a friend and fellow missionary who had been granted the power to heal the sick, I’d be mighty upset and confused if he “left me sick somewhere”. A guy falls out of a window dead while you’re preaching and you bring him back to life (Acts 20:10). You heal the father of a man you’ve known for all of five minutes (Actos 28:8), and you yourself are healed once from a poisonous snake bite (Acts 28:5) . In fact, the power of healing is so present in you that handkerchiefs you’ve touched are given to strangers who are then cured (Acts 19:12). And yet, you leave me sick in Miletus!!
Poor Trophimus had to have been wondering, “what’s going on here Paul? You took care of all these other situations and here I sit, after travelling with you for seven years, helping spread the Good News to these people, and you just leave me here, SICK!? Come on, Man!”
This confirms that the healings that took place at the hands of the apostles had one purpose – to give credibility and credence to the message of the Gospel – to confirm that it was indeed coming form God. They didn’t’ heal just to heal. These miraculous restorations were not simply for they physical benefit of the infirmed. Their purpose was to produce faith in the Word. Trophimus already had faith in the Word. He already believed it was from God. He already believed in Christ. He needed not a confirmation form a miracle. The Holy Spirit, as hard as this is for us to accept, doesn’t heal just because He can.
Purely human logic leads us to believe that the closer you are to God and the harder you work to serve him, the easier your existence on this earth should be. But this little snippet about Trophimus reminds us that no one, regardless of their relationship to the great healer, regardless of their efforts to advance his cause, is entitled to a healing. God owes me nothing. I owe him my life.