Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. (Acts 14:27, N.K.J.V.)
Most of us want God to do something for us. We prove that by taking our Christmas list of prayer requests to Him on a regular basis. But how many of us want God to do something with us?
The events of Acts 14 are found within the context of the record of Paul’s first missionary journey. His ministry companion for that trip was Barnabas (Acts 13:1-3), even though Mark, the writer of the gospel of Mark, traveled with them for a while as well (Acts 12:25; 13:13). Paul and Barnabas were both Jews, but they ministered to Jews and Gentiles alike. As a matter of fact, their ministry to Gentiles produced more spiritual fruit than their ministry to Jews.
That missionary journey ended where it had begun, at the church in Antioch. It was there that Paul and Barnabas gave a full report to the church. And what did they tell those Christians? Our text verse says they told them how God had worked with them to open up salvation (“the door of faith”) to the Gentiles.
Could God have opened up the door of salvation to those Gentiles without using Paul and Barnabas? Certainly. He could have had a host of angels visit all those cities and preach the gospel. Or, He could have had every single one of the Gentiles in those cities have a dream, a dream in which the gospel was presented. But God’s preferred method of getting the gospel shared in all those cities was to have Paul and Barnabas preach it.
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China, once said:
I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking Him to do His work through me.
Those words “do His work through me” equate to the same thing as Paul and Barnabas reporting what God “had done with them.” Either way the idea is that God uses you as the vessel by which He gets His work done. The funny thing about God is that, as awesome as He is, He is always hard up for help. That’s because He relies upon volunteers rather than draftees.
Trust me, if God isn’t doing anything with you or through you, the problem isn’t on His end. He has given you talents. He has given you skills. He has given you abilities. If you are a born-again Christian, He has given you have at least one spiritual gift. Also, He has sovereignly placed you in your little corner of the world, which means that you live next door to people, work with people, and meet people that are uniquely your folks.
There’s an old saying that goes, “He’s our man in ………( fill in the city).” Well, God is looking for you to be His man/woman in wherever you happen to be at any given moment. Paul was that person. Barnabas was that person. Hudson Taylor was that person. But the question right now is, will you be that person? If you will be, then I guarantee you that God will do important things with you. Just give Him a try and see.