Jim R. Everett
Silas first traveled with Paul to Jerusalem on that momentous occasion when there were issues that needed settling. Luke records the co-labor of several different ones with Paul, and Paul mentions true yoke- fellows in some of his writings (Acts 14:18; Phil. 4:3). I would conclude from this that the H.S. approved of such efforts and also that the fellow laborers benefited from the presence of each other. Such a relationship is not without difficulties. Anytime there are people together there are, to some degree, problems of adjusting to each others personalities and the need for patience with flaws of character. People are people, no matter who they are. However, true yoke- fellows are indeed a blessing.
Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement about taking John Mark with them which produced sharp feelings. You see, Paul and John Mark didnt hit- it-off very well after Mark left them high and dry in Pamphylia. Paul evidently felt justified in not wanting Mark along, and Mark might have been able to excuse his actions in Pamphylia — at least, to himself. So Paul chose Silas, and Mark went on with Barnabas. This rift must have been mended later because Paul wrote, Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry, (2 Tim. 4:11).
From experience, I can recommend two or more men working together in preaching the Gospel. It is no easy task — if you dont believe it, ask those with whom I have worked. Our relationship continued profitably because I was willing to give 60% while they gave 40%. Of course, even as I write this, I am aware that they were probably the ones giving 60%. The willingness of each to go the extra five miles avoided any major problem. It is the Lords way (Matt. 5:41).
Together, Paul and Silas were beaten with many stripes because they had angered the masters of a demon-possessed damsel. They sat together, securely bound in their stocks, and sang praises and prayed at midnight. Later, they taught the jail-keeper about their master, Christ Jesus; and saw fruit abound from their labor. They knew the anger of religious men, the perils of travel and the weight of concern for the churches. But the loads were lighter because each was a source of strength to the other.
This is the same kind of relationship that exists in a local church — Christians working together, making allowances for individual weaknesses, and suffering long in the face of provocation. Many are not willing to put forth the effort. They find it easier to cringe in their darkened dens and lick their self-inflicted wounds as they yelp for others to grovel with them in their self-pity. Problems do arise, but solutions must be sought. This takes patience — the quickest way to the lair is not the best. The warmth of brotherly love is a just reward for tears and diligent effort, and our loads are lighter when a brother is helping to lift.
The memories of toil, tears, tender compassion and triumph linger and they are enriched because there were others to share them.