June 11, 2021
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The very next verse in this chapter reads:
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
So, I’m a little confused. Verse three says the church in Antioch sent them off. Verse for says the Holy Spirit sent them on their way. So did the church send them, or did the Holy Spirit?Yes.
I won’t belabor the point because I think it’s pretty clear that the Holy Spirit used the church, and people like Simeon, Lucius and Manaen, to facilitate the work of God in the lives of Paul and Barnabas and the work of God in the world outside their church. There are two simple takeaways for you and I today, in light of this simple but profound truth.
- As a follower of Jesus, you are a part of the work he is doing in other people. He wants to use you to encourage, bless, send, and receive his people. Do you go to work carrying the mindset that you are a part of God’s work in the lives of your co-workers? In the middle of an argument, are you influenced by the thought that God wants to do something in that very moment – and he wants to use you to do it? When going to the doctor or buying clothes, are you aware of the presence of God guiding and using you for the good of others? If you’re like me, the answer is, “Not as often as I’d like.” But the opportunity is always there.
- As a follower of Jesus, other people are a significant part of the work he is doing in you. Are you defensive? Proud? Independent? Those characteristics, while respected and admired in the corporate or academic world, can stand in the way of hearing God’s voice from the mouths of others. Be the type of person who listens first, inviting God to speak through the wisdom and guidance of other people, instead of charging forward with blind ambition or false bravado. It is the main difference between being sent, and going alone.