Faith on Fire – Week 14
Well hello all the mums out there!!!
Welcome to another week of our Faith on Fire series, looking at the book of Acts. I sit here full of what I can only describe as “freshers flu” from the kids going back to school, as I get ready for the first full week of them being back. It’s been an emotional and exhausting week, as I’m sure lots of you have also experienced. If you’re still stuck at home with a baby or toddler and struggling too as most groups can’t reopen, I feel your pain too! This is such a tough time, so hang in there.
This week we were studying this verse:
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:25-26
The first thing you notice about this verse is what Barnabas does. He went and he looked for Saul. He didn’t call for him and expect him to come running, or pray and think that perhaps he would run into him. He had already recognised Paul’s gifting and change of heart and helped him gain acceptance into the Christian circles, but now he goes and actively looks for him. Why you might ask? Surely Barnabas had enough on his plate with his own preaching ministry? Probably could have reached more people if they had divided and conquered and gone their separate ways! I think there are three reasons that God prompts Barnabas to go look for Saul.
- This isn’t a journey we take on our own. We say it a lot that church is a “family” and that we need to be in community. But it’s so true! Life can be tough, and if we want to get through it still loving God then we need others with us. Can you imagine going to a hostile village and being chased out, but not having a friend to cry to about how tough that rejection was? Putting it simply, Paul wouldn’t have survived his ministry on his own, it probably would have broken him. God knew Paul needed a friend to keep him going, and to provide the pattern for his future mission trips (where Paul takes various others with him).
- We all need mentoring in our faith. Paul might have known the Old Testament well, but this new way of faith would have required a bit of adjustment. Barnabas had been believing longer than Paul and so perhaps he felt this draw to Paul to provide him with mentoring and guidance. When we first become Christians our fire and zeal for the faith can be so over-powering that we don’t always do things well! We all need a mentor to guide us and help us calm down/get some perspective and grow in our faith. Perhaps it is only because of the time Barnabas put into mentoring Paul that his preaching was so powerful and effective! But one thing to note is that these young and enthusiastic Christians don’t always think they need mentoring or help, because they are so excited and enthusiastic! Barnabas had to search him out to provide this. So maybe now is the time for us to search out those who could benefit from our mentoring and approach them?
- Sometimes we don’t go to the right places. Paul was in Tarsus. Barnabas brought him to Antioch. We don’t always go to the places God wants us to be! It’s that simple! Learning to listen to God’s calling and where he leads us takes time, and that was a skill Paul had yet to learn. Barnabas had to help him a little with this.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO THOSE THINGS
The last part of this verse shows me a glimpse of what can happen when we do life with other Christians, submit to mentorship from those older and wiser than us and go to the places God wants us in – we can do great and powerful things in His name and great numbers can become Christians. So my big question this week is – which of those things are you not doing?
I love the prison related stories in Acts, and here is the first one for you to meditate on this coming week:
“So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. Suddenly an angel of the LORD appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.” Acts 12:5 and 7