Date: Monday, July 15
Scripture: Acts 11:19-30
Verse: The disciples determined that according to their ability, each would send relief to the believers living in Judea; this they did, sending it to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. (Acts 11:29-30)
I recently asked our confirmation class what makes a church, a church. I rephrased the question asking what do churches do that are different from other organizations to which people belong. We got some great answers about pastors, worship, youth group, and other things you might expect. We also came up with some silly ones – my favorite was that Christians dip bread in grape juice. The exercise nicely illustrated for us how we think about church, and what the church is actually called to do.
Today’s passage tells us about one early church in Antioch. As the gospel spread to the non-Jewish world, and the believers were no longer a sect with in Judaism, but now called “Christians” (vs 26), leaders were commissioned from Jerusalem to pastor them – preaching and coaching them how to grow in their discipleship. Due to a need a new ministry was started, a collection to bring relieve to those suffering from a famine in Judea. This was quite a reversal. The “Hellenist” (vs 20), non-Jewish churches, now had a ministry to the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding area. The servants were now being served by those they had come to pastor.
One of the things I expect on this week’s mission trips to Mescalero, NM with our high school youth and Loveland, CO with our middle school group, is those who have been sent to serve (us) will receive as much as they give to those they serve. It’s funny how God often reverses those roles. We go to give, but we are the ones who tremendous blessing through what God does in us by means of those we have gone to give our time.
For some of us, it is far easier to give than receive. We need to be reminded to put ourselves in a posture of receiving, even as we serve.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, open me to be a receiver as well as a giver. Amen.
Action: Recognize those who serve you this week – increase a tip, say thank you, send a note to one you supervise, etc.
Respond: Do you find it easier or more difficult to receive than to give? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below. If you are receiving this via email, click the title at the top of the email to take you to the devotion webpage where you can leave a comment.