After the high of their reception in Berea came another low. For the fifth time Paul is, essentially, run out of town in fear for his life:
“…when the Jews from Thessalonica heard that Paul had also proclaimed the word of God in Berea, they came there too, inciting and disturbing the crowds. Then the brothers sent Paul away to the coast at once, but Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. Those who accompanied Paul escorted him as far as Athens, and after receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.”
(Acts 17.13-15, NET)
Not content with forcing Paul out of their own city (17.10) the Jews from Thessalonica arrived in Berea and began inciting and disturbing the crowds. Once more Paul is forced to leave in order to keep the peace and to protect the fledgling church community.
We read that Silas and Timothy remained in Berea. Oftentimes we are reluctant to move on or to handover responsibility to others for things we feel won’t flourish without us. Paul, however, clearly didn’t feel like that. David Guzik writes:
“…Paul didn’t believe that he alone could do the work of teaching and strengthening Christians; men like Silas and Timothy also could.”
We would do well to follow this example of seeing ourselves as part of a bigger picture, but never indispensable to the work. Our service to God is important, sure, but when we need to move on or hand over others will be raised up to serve in our place. Holding on is holding others back.
If there are areas of your life that you need to let go of, think how deeply Paul felt about church communities, how much time and energy and effort he put into starting them, but then how frequently he moved on. Letting go is ok and handing over is healthy.