August 14, 2019
Acts 13:4-5 (in context)
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
Elwood was right. “We’re on a mission from God.” Those words, immortalized by Elwood Blues (played by Dan Akroid) in the 1980 movie, The Blues Brothers, say it all.
We are on a mission from God. In yesterday’s reading, in the midst of their worship and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke to the gathered community, saying, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Permit me a few observations.
- “Set apart for me.” Before they were set apart for any work, they were set apart for the Holy Spirit. This is mission critical. Do you consider yourself as “set apart” for the Holy Spirit? To be set apart does not mean to be isolated. It means to be possessed and purposed.
- These two had been given a particular assignment from the Holy Spirit. It looks like the mission was given to them for the church rather than it being given to the church for them. Don’t wait for the church to give you a mission. Ask for an assignment from the Holy Spirit for the sake of the Church.
- The job of the Church was to recognize this by commissioning and sending them out. We are not told the specific mission. Apparently that had been given to Saul and Barnabas.
- The two of them were “sent on their way by the Holy Spirit.” Did they have a specific sense of where and to do what? We don’t know. The more typical pattern of the Holy Spirit is to simply “send people on their way” and to give direction along the journey. Abraham didn’t know where he was headed. God simply said leave. Moses didn’t know exactly where he was to lead the Hebrew people. God said I’ll let you know when you get there.
- The Holy Spirit works more like a GPS device than by handing you a map with a set of printed directions. You get the next turn in time to make the turn. Maybe you get a big picture destination, like Cyprus by way of Selucia, but maybe not.
- The mission happens from the get-go. It’s not something that happens when you get “there.” It happens all along the way.
- We need “helpers.” There’s no such thing as working below your pay grade (or above it) in the Kingdom of God.
We are on mission with God. And at times we are on a mission from God. Feeling bold? Ask the Holy Spirit for an “assignment.”
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
Which one of these seven observations resonates with you most today? Challenges you most? Are you open to an assignment from the Holy Spirit?
For the Awakening,