21 Paul and Barnabas preached the good news in the city of Derbe. They won large numbers of followers. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. 22 There they helped the believers gain strength. They told them to remain faithful to what they had been taught. “We must go through many hard times to enter God’s kingdom,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church. The elders had trusted in the Lord. Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted. They placed the elders in the Lord’s care. 24 After going through Pisidia, Paul and Barnabas came into Pamphylia. 25 They preached the good news in Perga. Then they went down to Attalia. 26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch. In Antioch they had been put in God’s care to preach the good news. They had now completed the work God had given them to do. 27 When they arrived at Antioch, they gathered the church together. They reported all that God had done through them. They told how he had opened a way for the Gentiles to believe. 28 And they stayed there a long time with the believers.
Paul – what a strong example of the transformative power of the Gospel. Paul is a man who knows what he is about and what the call on his life is. The very next day after being beaten and stoned to the point of appearing dead, Paul, along with Barnabas, continue to travel to preach the gospel in several different cities in order to win more disciples for Christ. He also works to encourage fellow believers to remain strong in their faith, even in the face of hardship and trials. This from a man who is probably still recovering from some severe physical injuries and exhaustion! Yet we see no selfpity or desire for special treatment from Paul. Rather he is focused on winning souls and building up fellow believers, praying and fasting for church elders, and travelling to different churches to share their news with these congregations. Paul is so committed to the call he has received from Christ, he is not put off by pain, discomfort, fear or threat.
I am both encouraged and convicted by Paul’s example!! It is so important to have a clear sense of what God has called each of us to. While we all have individual calls on our lives, we are all called to go and make disciples, to speak and live the gospel, to reach and build people in the name of Jesus. While our experience of this may be different to Paul’s, may we remember to take this call just as seriously and to pursue it for all we can.
Lord, help us never to become too complacent or comfortable to remember that the call to spread the gospel and build disciples should be our first priority. Lead us and guide us in this calling, Jesus. Amen.
Written by Madelaine Tarasenko