IF EVER TWO men could talk about what they had done, Paul and Barnabas should have been the two. Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, was as active now in Christ’s service as he had formerly been against the Way. His reputation as a persecutor was such that the Jerusalem church had not trusted his conversion at first (Acts 9:26). But Barnabas came to his rescue (9:27). “Barnabas the Exhorter” they called him (4:36). It was an appropriate nickname. Paul was in his debt now; Mark was to be later (15:36-40).
The Holy Spirit had selected these two from the company of prophets and teachers in the church in Antioch. He had a special assignment for them. It was a bold adventure: Paul and Barnabas were to leave post haste on an extended tour of duty — among the Gentiles! Following the preparation of prayer and fasting, the other prophets and teachers at Antioch gave them their endorsement and dismissed them from local service (Acts 13:1-3).
In a sense the Antioch church had “sent” Paul and Barnabas, for they did “recommend them to the grace of God for the work” (Acts 14:26). But everyone there knew that the Holy Spirit really “sent” the two men on their trip (13:4). Nevertheless, it was proper that when their travels were over a report be made to the church in Antioch: a report of what God had accomplished.
In a day when (as Spanish evangelist Juan Monroy put it so well) “we praise men too much,” it should do us good to read the report Luke gives. Paul and Barnabas, he says, “rehearsed all that God had done with them” (14:27). In this age of “Great Preachers,” “Outstanding Evangelists,” and “World-Renowned Church Leaders,” the example of these two humble men of God is especially appropriate.
“WHAT GOD HAD DONE!” It’s a subject that could take all day to discuss! And then some. God still does great things. But He wants men and women through whom to work: men of faith, submission and humility. Men who will finish their assigned task, as Paul and Barnabas, then tell “what GOD has done!”