Fancy stairs. Nice touch.
Wednesday, 8 February 2023
And they were preaching the gospel there. Acts 14:7
Note: You can listen to today’s commentary courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)
You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).
In the previous verse, Paul and Barnabas were said to have fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. With that in mind, Luke next records, “And they were preaching the gospel there.” The Greek is just three words. Two of them are a finite verb and a participle that together denote continuance. The exact order would read, “And there they were preaching the gospel.”
These men went to this area and these cities, and while there they didn’t just preach, but they continued to do so. The words then give the state of the situation that will continue through verse 23. It is not indicated how long their time of preaching was, but it was long enough to encounter great difficulty, make many disciples, establish a multitude of churches, and even return to other cities in the area to strengthen them.
The chapter shows the tireless efforts of Paul and Barnabas, all summed up in these few words.
Life application: There are many ministries that get started and that quickly fade away. Churches may decide to set up a pancake breakfast ministry in the poorer part of town, helping the people there. Things take off quickly but eventually flatten out. The people who are served will come to expect their pancakes as if it is their weekly due.
With that, those in the ministry get frustrated and eventually it shuts down. There are many reasons for such a failure, but the main point of a ministry that comes from a church is not feeding people pancakes. Anyone can do that, and they can do it for whatever reason they want.
A ministry that is done by a church, or by church people, should have the main goal of sharing the gospel. Paul and Barnabas did not bake pancakes. The narrative says they preached the gospel. This is what needs to be done. The way that occurs may need to be adjusted to the local circumstances. But if the good news is not shared eventually, then what is the point of the ministry?
And more, Paul and Barnabas didn’t just preach the gospel. They continued to do so. There needs to be a determination that even if the initial effort doesn’t bear any fruit, the work will continue. There is a time to move on, and that has been seen and will continue to be seen in the book of Acts, but there also must be a realization that some things take time. Without an extended effort, there will be no fruit on the tree.
Feeding people pancakes is fine, but it cannot be the main goal of a successful church ministry. Whether openly and boldly, or slowly and methodically, sharing Jesus must be the ultimate goal. If that is done, and even if the first convert comes after a long time, the ministry will be considered a success.
Lord God, help us to have the attitude that whatever we do, we will do it so that You will be evident in the doing. May our lives, our actions, and our words ultimately be dedicated to the set goal of bringing others to You. Help us with this. Even in a world that is set against You and Your offer of peace, help us to have this mind. To Your glory. Amen.