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Worship Then Work

Daily ReadingActs 13

 

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.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13.2-3)

 

Devotional Thought: When Barnabas and Saul were chosen and commissioned for their first missionary journey, it was part of the process that Jesus had told them about: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1.8).  The church’s witness was now extending beyond Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

 

How did it happen that the church in Antioch – which represents all of the Church – sent off two missionaries?  What made them come up with such an idea?  First, they were “worshiping the Lord and fasting!”  Then they “fasted and prayed” and “placed their hands on them and sent them off.”  In these actions we see 5 critical elements to the expansion of The Church’s mission: They were 1) focused on Jesus, 2) desperate for Jesus, 3) praying through Jesus, 4) united in Jesus, and 5) obedient to Jesus.  It was all about Jesus!

 

When the church today will do these things, God will surely direct our mission just as he did theirs!  Though the mission started out vague and undefined (“the work to which I have called them”), God led them all the way.  When our mission is centered on Jesus, then we can count on his guidance and help.  If, however, we choose our mission based on self-interest, self-preservation, or self-importance we can be sure that there will be division and confusion.  For self-centered missions do not align with one another.  It is impossible because your interest, your importance, and your preservation are by nature at odds with mine.

 

As you seek to serve the Lord, start with the posture of the church in Antioch – centered on Jesus!

 

Prayer: Jesus, you have told me to be your witness and to make disciples.  I have many ideas about what that means and how to go about doing it.   But help me, Lord, to worship first and work second.  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 73:1-11

1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

5 They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.

7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity ; their evil imaginations have no limits.

8 They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.

9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.

10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.

11 They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?”

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