If I asked you who was responsible for writing nearly half the books of the New Testament and over 30% of its content, you probably would say the apostle Paul. Although that’s the correct answer, I was actually thinking of a couple of other guys. If not for these “other guys,” Paul’s amazing ministry would have never taken place.
These unnamed heroes are described in Acts 9:23-25, soon after Paul’s conversion. Paul learned that the Jews were plotting to kill him, watching the city gates day and night in order to get their chance.
Keep in mind that Paul hadn’t planted any churches at this point. Nor had he written any epistles. He was just a new convert—but one with a special calling from God.
So how would Paul escape this plot? “During the night, some of the other believers lowered him in a large basket through an opening in the city wall.”
We’re never given the name of these “other believers,” referred to in some other translations simply as “the disciples.” But make no mistake about it: Their faithfulness in “holding the rope” on Paul’s basket was the difference between success and failure, life and death.
This observation leads to two important questions for each one of us:
1. Who is holding the rope for YOU? If you face tough times someday and your back is against the wall, is there anyone you can count on to hold your rope and keep you from crashing to ground? In an age of megachurches that often don’t even provide staff members for counseling, weddings, hospital visits, or funerals, are you confident that other believers will be there for you in your hour of need?
2. Whose rope are you holding? Are there people who are counting on you to faithfully hold their rope, serving behind the scenes in order to ensure their safety and success? Are you willing to be a selfless, unnamed servant while God raises up someone else to prominent ministry?
The problem with rope-holding is that it seems unnecessary when everything is going well. You may be saying today, “I don’t need anyone to hold MY rope! I can navigate life just fine on my own, thank you.”
But the truth of the matter is this: We ALL need someone to hold our rope at one time or another. And if we are faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, He will surely call upon us to hold someone else’s rope in their darkest hours. Are you ready? Have you invested your time in relationships that will stand the rope-holding test? Or are you content just to “play church” and maintain superficial, noncommittal relationships?
In the days ahead, who will hold your rope? Whose rope will you hold? Your answer to these two questions will have profound implications.