Psalm 145:10-13, 21
Today we see the conclusion of what is called the First Missionary Journey. We have been following it for the past week now in the book of Acts. There would be other missionary journeys, longer missionary journeys, more successful missionary journeys, but there was only one First Missionary Journey. One week ago, Paul and Barnabas left Antioch, the most important city in early Christianity. Today they return, perhaps a year later. They met resistance on the way, but they kept preaching. They were abandoned by John Mark who started the journey with them, but they kept preaching. Paul was stoned to death and dragged outside of Lystra, but he just stood up, walked back into the city, and kept preaching.
It was not all trouble though; there was joy. There were great signs and wonders worked through the hands of Paul and Barnabas. Crowds of people began to believe in Jesus Christ. In every city, there were some who resisted the Gospel, but there were many who submitted to the Gospel. When they arrived back in Antioch, where the journey started, they called the Church together and reported what God had done with them.
God had done amazing things with them, and he would yet do greater things with them. What about us though? We know what God did with Paul and Barnabas, but what has he done with us? What is he going to do with us? God can do anything. God can work any miracle we can imagine, and a lot that we cannot imagine. We know that our world needs great things to be done. We know that God can accomplish great things. The only variable left is us. What is God going to do with us?
He gave us free will. He is waiting for permission to do great things with us, but we need more than a simple act of will, “God you may do great things with me.” Although that is a wonderful start, we need more. A hammer has to be hard and heavy, and a screwdriver has to be straight and strong, and if we are going to be tools in the hands of God, we have to be humble, faithful, obedient, and pure. Above all, we have to love. When we are ready, when we have let God forge us into the tools he needs, sometimes in the fires of suffering, he is going to do astounding things with us.