Read: Acts 13:1-12
Consider: In today’s passage from Acts 13 we read: Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:1-3).
In many of Paul’s letters he sets out his credentials as being called and set apart for the work that God called him to do. Typical of this is what he says in Romans 1:1 – Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.
Paul’s sense of calling was profound and enabled him to face many hardships, difficulties and opposition in his ministry. Notice in the Acts 13 passage quoted above, that the instrument of Paul’s calling was the Holy Spirit revealing it to the believers in Antioch. While the believers had a part to play in sending Paul and Barnabas, it was God who called them and set them apart. This enabled Paul to say: Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead (Galatians 1:1).
When a person seeks to serve God, in whatever capacity, it is up to their fellow believers in their local church to test their gifting to see if they have the attributes and life skills necessary for the task. While this is vitally important for both the congregation and the individual believer, it is the believer’s calling and being set apart by God that is most important. A person might have the necessary gifting, but lack any real sense of God’s call on their lives. In these circumstances, it would be foolish to commission them before God calls and sets them apart for his service.
However, a person may have a very deep sense of God’s call, yet be lacking in some aspects of the gifting and skills needed for the task. These people should not be dismissed off-hand, primarily because God can and will equip them for the tasks he has in mind. Paul himself says: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up …’ (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Now may the peace of God, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21).
Pray: Father, we ask that you would give us a deep sense of your calling to serve you, in whatever capacity you choose and that you would equip us with everything good for doing your will. Amen