In our study of Acts chapter thirteen, we look at God's calling and plan for Barnabas and Saul. We learn how God used these two faithful men to bring many Gentiles to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Barnabas was born in Cyprus with the name of Joseph. After he came to Christ, he sold all of his goods and gave the money to the apostles in Jerusalem. They then gave him the name Barnabas which, in Greek, means Son of Encouragement. When the number of believers in Antioch started to grow, Barnabas was sent there by the church in Jerusalem. When he saw what was happening there, he went and got Saul (Paul) and they taught the church there for a year. (Acts chapter 11)
"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 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.' So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." NIV translation
Barnabas and Saul were faithful workers in Antioch but God had much bigger plans for them. The Spirit called them to be set apart and the other leaders sent them on their way. They could have been content in where they were and the contribution they were making but instead they were listening to the Lord and were obedient to the call.
We all, as Christians, should look at ourselves and God's plan for us. We must be open to listening to the Holy Spirit and heeding the call that God has for our lives. It is much easier to be content and comfortable with our local group of believers and our efforts there but, just like Barnabas and Saul, God might have bigger plans for us.
Imagine how different things would be if Barnabas and Saul decided to just stay where they were and work with that local "church".
"The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper." NIV translation
Barnabas and Saul didn't really know all of the details about what God had called them to do but they took the first step. We see that they went to Cyprus and began to try to tell the Jews about Jesus. Today, we know that they were called out to preach to the Gentiles but, at the time, they didn't know. They were obedient in taking the first step without knowing all of the steps that God had in mind. Sometimes, that is hard for us to do but we must take the first step and let God reveal the rest in his time.