It was in the mid 1970’s that a young Steve Jobs showed up at that electronics store asking for credit to buy the parts to assemble what became known as the Apple 1 computer. He showed the credit manager a purchase order for 50 computers and asked him for 30 day terms. The credit manager double-checked with the person who gave them the purchase order who assured the manager that yes, he would buy those computers and they would be able to pay the bill. When they got the parts, Steve and his friends built, tested, and checked and delivered the 50 computers on time with enough profit to keep the business going. Apple Computers, later just to become Apple, Inc. was born that day. Apple has grown so much that a while back, their biggest money concern was what they would do with all the cash on hand.
Most great companies have similar, humble beginnings. No one saw the possibilities but the founders. And their mothers. They worked hard and developed a great company making many sacrifices in the process. The early church had jumped out of its confinement in Jerusalem as persecution hit. Antioch was a great example of the church crossing over into the Gentile world. Still, the church was confined to the Eastern Mediterranean shoreline. Then one day, the leaders of the church at Antioch were doing what they normally did, and God broke through. “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.’” (Acts 13:2)
The simple beginning of the missionary movement began with five people worshiping the Lord and fasting, seeking God’s direction. It began because people were seeking God’s will in finding ways to serve. It’s notable who the Holy Spirit selected. He chose the two men who were the first leaders of the church. Barnabas who had come down from Jerusalem to check things out and Saul, whom Barnabas had turned to when he needed help. It would have been easy for them to pull back and note how much they were needed there at Antioch. They had worked hard to establish and build that church, and now God wanted to take them away. It would have been easy for the other three leaders to fear the loss of Barnabas and Saul because of how much they meant to the church. Now, the work that Barnabas and Saul were doing would be their responsibility. No, instead of arguing with God, they followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, prayed for those two, and the work of spreading the gospel to the whole world began.
This work begun by Barnabas and Saul under the leadership of the Holy Spirit has changed the world. We see them now as spiritual giants who followed God, but in truth, they were frail, sinful men. After the first journey, they argued and split up over a difference of opinion. They must have been Baptists because that changed the scorecard from one missionary team to two missionary teams. The point is, that these two were frail, sinful men who followed the leadership of the Holy Spirit. My question is “Does God still act in the world today?” I have no doubt that most of the people who call themselves Christians would agree that He does. My follow-up question would be, “Have you checked with God to see how He wants you involved as His ambassador?” And, if you’re like me, you might probably greet that question with a long silence. Then, you might stammer something about your inability to do anything and your unfitness for duty because you aren’t good enough. Put those worries aside. Take things in this order: 1) seek God and His will; 2) if He calls you, be available – availability is more important than ability; 3) trust God to teach you whatever you need to accomplish the task He calls you to; 4) Do what He calls you to do. Great ministries have always had small beginnings with God’s faithful people.
Oh Lord, reveal what You want me to do. Let me be open to following You no matter what the cost. Equip me to do those things You’ve called me to do. Then, make me faithful in following Your will.