After all the events of 19.11-20, Paul decided in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem and also call through Macedonia and Achaia. He then declared that
“After I have been there, I must also see Rome.”
(Acts 19.21, NET)
His ministry is beginning to bear fruit, his ambition to teach and preach the Gospel is growing, and perhaps Paul here has realised that from Rome his reach could be exponentially bigger. After deciding that Rome is his destination, we read that he sends ahead to Macedonia two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus.
The word Paul uses here to describe Timothy and Erastus is the same he uses later in a letter to the former when talking about deacons (διακονέω, 1 Timothy 3.10). A role of service, of attending and assisting, of relieving burdens, of supplying the essentials, of administering the practicalities of a life given to ministry.
Some of us are called to be ministers, some of us are called to be deacons.
Maybe the role you are currently fulfilling will change in the future, it certainly has changed for me in the past. Honestly, we all probably fulfil a little of both roles in different contexts, don’t we?
Maybe in the context of your wider church family you are a διακονέω; helping, serving, taking care of the practicalities. Then, perhaps in a small group, perhaps in your own family, you take on the role Paul has here, the main minister. Neither is more holy and both are needed.
Take a moment today to evaluate where in your life you are taking the role of διακονέω and how you can better serve through it!