And He sent them out two by two. (Mark 6:7)
When the Apostle Paul gave us his list of burdens and hardships in the service of the gospel, loneliness was not one of them. 2 Corinthians 11 speaks of beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, and hardships galore. At the end, he adds one more all-inclusive category: “my deep concern for all the churches.”
But not loneliness.
Paul was not lonely.
We rarely see Paul by himself. In Antioch, he was one of five leaders. On his first missionary journey, he was accompanied by Barnabas and John Mark and possibly others. On his second journey, Silas was his companion, along with Timothy, Luke, and others. The last chapter of his letter to the church at Rome lists twenty-five saints by name to whom he was sending greetings, along with “his mother and mine” and “his sister” and “all the saints who are with them.” Then, he names eight brethren who are with him at that moment: Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sosipater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus.
Paul was no loner. Nor was our Lord.
Jesus chose twelve “that they might be with Him” (Mark 3:14). (The exception, we need to add, would be Gethsemane when He said, “Could you not pray with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40) )
Then, why, someone please tell us, are so many pastors loners, trying to lead the church, prepare life-changing sermons, and bear the burden of a thousand responsibilities all by themselves?
It was not meant to be this way.