Acts 13:26-52; Joshua 20-21; Job 30
Paul and Barnabas began their missionary journey with the purpose of leading all people to follow Jesus – but especially Jews. The pattern that would continue throughout their joint and separate ministry trips was established at their stop in Pisidian Antioch. They spoke to the Jews at synagogue. They were well received by the Jews who were there and by Gentiles. They were invited back. The Jewish leadership, jealous of the reactions, would stir up trouble and Paul and Barnabas would be forced to work mainly with the Gentiles. Here’s how they put it: “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us: “I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.”’” (Acts 13:46-47) While they tried to maintain their Jewish roots and preach to their family, so to speak, the message was rejected. This rejection was based not on the message but on fear of how the message of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus would affect their standing in the community. This rejection, however, didn’t stymie Paul and Barnabas, it opened up new avenues of ministry. We live in a world that often rejects the transforming message of Christ. Many are satisfied and comfortable with life in general and with God – as long as He doesn’t get in their way. We serve a God who gets in our way and calls us to greater service each and every day. As we proclaim that message, we may feel rejected. Take heart – man’s rejection is God’s way of causing us to look around at other ways to serve.
Dear Lord, please remind me that when I feel discouragement from fruitless work that You are opening another door. Give me leadership and guidance and a willing heart to accept it. Guide me to serve You in new ways for Your glory.