Read: Acts 18:24-28 NRSV
Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos from Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord, and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.
What an interesting tidbit to include! Apollos barely gets a mention throughout Acts, but Luke (the author) makes sure to point out that he was a good speaker who needed a little seminary education.
A common question that leaders ask themselves when their followers fail is if their failure is due to a lack of motivation or ability. It’s best to be full of both, of course, but it’s best to err on the side of enthusiasm. Remember that Jesus wanted his followers to be more like children! What are children if not full of motivation with almost no ability?
Apollos’ demeanor is a perfect blueprint as we begin our own mission work. We must come to God full of zeal, and ready to serve in any way that we can. And, just like Apollos, we must welcome correction and training from those who have spiritual wisdom to give us. We need a Priscilla and Aquila to serve as guides as we build our ability without crushing our natural enthusiasm. Think of how easily a child’s natural energy and curiosity are crushed by a poor teacher. The child may emerge with more ability by the end of the year, but the innocent joy for learning may be destroyed in the process.
To serve God, we must be like Apollos, or better yet, a little child. Give Him your passion and let Him build your ability.