The Holy Spirit says it’s time now for Saul/Paul to take up the mission he was called to. We get to look in on this commissioning.
Saul was told he was going to be God’s instrument from the first time he encountered Him. He also knew that his calling was to the Gentiles. As a devout Jew he would have been appalled at this idea but as a forgiven child of God he was willing to do whatever God asked him to.
Saul’s early audiences didn’t include very many Gentiles. They were mainly made up of Jewish people who Saul spoke boldly to about the gospel. Many believed but many others also wanted him stopped, permanently. But he didn’t stop. He relocated on a couple of occasions but he kept right on sharing with anyone who would listen.
After some time in his home town Saul was brought to Antioch by Barnabas. Barnabas knew of Saul’s calling and when he saw the Gentile audience in need of a good shepherd he immediately thought of Saul. I think it fair to say that the Holy Spirit put Saul’s name in Barnabas’ mind too.
Saul is finally able to move into the work he was called to by God; reaching the Gentiles. He and Barnabas were very happy working with this group. These two men of God had spent over a year helping build this group up in the name of the Lord. Several men had grown in the Lord to the place of teachers and prophets. The church was in good shape.
One day while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke to the group. I noticed something interesting about this descriptive statement. I noticed they were worshiping. We are not told that they were praying for some need or guidance. Instead they were giving of their hearts to the Lord.
They were also engaged in another form of submission to God; they were fasting. There are a couple of reasons to engage in fasting. The first one is to entreat God for some request. The second reason is an effort to remove all other distractions to get closer to God. I’m thinking they were engaged in the second type of fasting. They wanted to be as close to God as possible.
They were right where God wanted them to be. Ready, willing and able to move into what He had next for them. The Holy Spirit spoke to this group and told them to set Saul and Barnabas apart for the His purposes. Out of obedience they ALL did as instructed. I’m sure the brothers would have loved to keep Saul and Barnabas on as their teachers but that is not what the Holy Spirit wanted. So they laid hands on these two willing servants and sent them out with their blessing.
I wonder if Saul thought he was already fulfilling the calling placed on him or if he was still waiting. Was his fasting done in an effort to ask God if this was it for him? I believe he would have been satisfied if God had told him it was but I also believe he was over the moon with excitement to hear that there was still more God had for him to do. “Lord I’m Yours, however You want to use me. But I know there are people out there that need to hear Your word. How can I help You reach them? I’m willing to do whatever You ask of me. Please let me be used of You for Your glory.”
Father God, I want to pray that prayer too. I’m not as brave as Saul/Paul was. I also don’t have the ability to pick up and go to other places or lands. But I do want to be used by You. I know I don’t have to do something grand to share Your love. I can do little things for people You bring across my path every day. But the first steps in being used by You is being willing and listening. Help me listen more fully. More than anything else though Lord, help my attitude. I find myself getting frustrated again by the little demands on my time, even when they take me away from noting important at all. Please help me get my attitudes back in line. I love You and I love my husband. I want to show that love in my daily actions. Thank You that You hear me when I call to You.