Faith & Faithfulness
Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Acts 13.
Acts 13 is the start of what the church now calls “missions.” In fact, we refer to the events in Acts 13-14 as “Paul’s First Missionary Journey.” This morning I want to encourage you to work hard in sharing Jesus with people, and to trust him to bring the growth.
The missionary journeys begin in obedience to the spirit. Saul (Paul) and Barnabas are called to go, and they are faithful to obey.
“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 ESV)
They proclaim the gospel boldly as they go and God gives them significant success. In fact, as a direct result of their faithfulness Acts 13:48-49 says,
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.  And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. (ESV)”
In other words, Paul and Barnabas were faithful to preach the gospel, and God used their faithfulness to bring people to salvation.
This all sounds like a smashing success, until you get to verse 50 where persecution is stirred up and they are driven out of the city. After being faithful, Luke* tells us, they simply had to have faith. Look at the joy their faith in God gives them:
“But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:51-52 ESV)
How could these men, who had just been driven from a city, be filled with joy? Because they knew that God was the one producing fruit. Their mission hadn’t failed, they had been obedient. They had even seen God bring people to salvation. Now that things weren’t working out, it didn’t crush them. They knew that God was sovereign even over mission trips.
As you share your faith with others in faithful obedience to Jesus’ command to make disciples, remember that we entrust our work to a good and holy God. We are faithful, and we kneel before him in faith. We work hard, and we trust him to produce fruit. Don’t become discouraged when your efforts don’t produce the fruit you hoped for. Don’t be tempted to change the message when it isn’t well received. We are ambassadors for God a perfect and holy God. He does not need us as image consultants.
Grace & Peace.
*Luke is the author of Acts.