“. . . the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’” (Acts 13:2b).
So how did the Spirit of God express His call on Barnabas and Saul to the church in Antioch? Was it through an audible voice that shook the heavens? Did He express it through an individual? Was it written on a wall? These are all ways that God has spoken. What was it like in this instance? I would like to know. But I suppose it is good that I don’t because I would probably make it a rule that “this is the only way that the Spirit expresses His directive leading.”
Even though we don’t know all of what this looked like, there are a few things we can say about the Spirit’s guiding.
- This was guidance related to ministry for Christ. Now, don’t take that simple sentence and run to the extreme. Does the Spirit only guide with regard to ministry? No. But, I wonder, does the average one of us spend much time asking for God’s guidance in how He might use us for His purposes? Don’t forget, the Holy Spirit has given each child of God a gift that we are to leverage for God’s glory and for the blessing of others (Rom. 12:3-8).
- This guidance was consistent with past performance. Barnabas and Saul had already developed a track record of faithful service for Christ. This was not one like a lightning bolt on a cloudless day. It wasn’t a situation where you couldn’t imagine it. From their conversion until that day, they had proven themselves faithful and this was a new chapter in the same book.
- This was guidance directed to and affirmed by others. The Holy Spirit directed the leaders of the local church in initiating this important next stage of the gospel ‘s global impact. It wasn’t just something that only Saul or Barnabas sensed and later announced, “We have been called to go.” The church and its leaders played an integral role.
Let me close with a question or two. Are you involved in serving Christ? Have you ever invited the Spirit’s guidance and the guidance of other believers to direct you into the ministry where the Lord wants you?