Day 19 // The Sending Church
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.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:2-3).
The church was young, inexperienced and growing. The Antioch church had things hopping and popping — many new believers, sound biblical teaching, passionate prayer, fasting and an eagerness to find God’s leading so that they could obey. As the church was lost in worship while seeking the Lord, God made a startling revelation to them: They were to send their very best! Not those they would hardly miss, but their strongest teacher and most enthusiastic encourager, which was an essential role in those days. Immediately, they prayed and fasted about this directive — and sent them off. A sending church is selfless, sacrificial and courageous.
od’s ways are so different from our ways, aren’t they? We think keeping will get us ahead, while God says giving brings the greatest benefits. We think having control is the mark of true power, while God says serving unleashes our greatest influence. We think holding on — even to people — will give us the leverage to succeed, while God says letting go is the key to living in his will. Are there people in your life you can’t imagine sending off to another place of ministry? They may be the very ones God is waiting for you to send. Are you willing? Are you ready? Are you encouraging them to go?
Holy God, I come before you today with a fresh recognition of my weakness. I’m too often caught in the carnal snares of keeping rather than releasing. Would you help me see who you have chosen to go so that I can eagerly encourage them and help send them? Allow me to plant the seeds of becoming a missionary in the strongest and most godly leaders around me. Whether they go to the people across the street or to those far away who need you, help me be a sending friend and sending leader. I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.