27 During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30 This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.
Here we see a beautiful picture of the body of Christ at work. The church in Antioch (predominantly Gentile) was planted by Jewish believers from Jerusalem. There is unity in the body despite the Jewish and Gentile believers having very different backgrounds – something remarkable in itself.
We see the body at work – Spiritual gifts were freely being used. Christians from Jerusalem had come to Antioch to encourage and build up the newer Christians, and the Christians from Antioch willingly, quickly and generously responded to the need in Jerusalem.
This prompts me to ask myself a few questions:
- How generous am I? Do I quickly and gratefully respond to the needs of others?
- Do I look for opportunities to encourage those more mature in the faith than me? I think it is easy for us to look at our leaders – to those who have taught us and helped us grow in faith – and think that “They’re okay – they’re so mature – they don’t need anything from me”. But the fact is that we all have struggles at times and we all need encouragement from others.
- How well do I fulfil my part in the body of Christ? Do I use the gifts God has given me to build up the body? Do I show as much love to everyone as I do to those who share a common experience to my own?
Heavenly Father, I want to do your will. I want to be the part of the body that you made me to be. Please help me to use the gifts you’ve given me. Help me look for and respond to opportunities to build others up – no matter who they are or how mature they are. Amen
Written by Megan Cornell