Aristarchus isn’t mentioned as often in the Bible as many great men of faith. He’s not mentioned in the so-called “Faith Hall of Fame” found in Hebrews 11. As far as we know, he wasn’t necessarily a great speaker, leader, or teacher. There’s not even one recorded word from his mouth in Scripture.
But when we look at the five verses in which he is mentioned, we catch a brief glimpse of a faithful Christian. So often we think we can only learn from those who are in the spotlight, those that are remembered. It is good to be reminded that we can learn from the not-so-famous; we can learn from those who are remembered only by God.
Aristarchus is one of those not-so-famous heroes that can teach us what it means to be a follower of Jesus living in the community we call the church. You see, tradition tells us that Aristarchus went to prison with Paul even though he was not charged with a crime. Isn’t that amazing? If tradition is correct, he chose to go to prison to support and stand with Paul during his difficult time. Aristarchus is a companion in suffering. He is a person who you can call at midnight when it seems like all hope is lost.
We need people like Aristarchus in our life; people who will stand with us regardless of the consequences. We all need people who will rejoice with us in times of joy and mourn with us in times of trial. As much as we need people to stand with us, if God is going to build His church, we all need to learn from Aristarchus, and stand with one another in times of celebration and in times of mourning. That is community; that is what it means to be the church!