Paul and Barnabas Were Ready. Are You?

In Acts 13 we read about how the church in Antioch sent out Paul and Barnabas to start their missionary travels. In the first three verses we see two men who were prepared to go when they got the call.

1. Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

In what way were these men ready for the call? They were ready by being spiritually mature surrendered servants who were teaching in the church.


Some people seem content to sit in church and let others serve them, but that is not the pattern we see from our Lord. He said that He came to be a minister, or servant, to others (Matthew 28:20). To prepare yourself for the call of God on your life, you should seek out ways in which you can serve your church family.

Maybe you’ve heard pastors make the statement that we should not be bench warmers in the church. Several years ago I was in an awkward meeting between a pastor and church member in Mexico. The church member complained to the pastor that he (the pastor) put too much emphasis on the idea of the church members getting involved in the ministry. The church member said that he wanted to come to church, sit in his pew with his family, and learn the Bible. He thought it was unreasonable for the pastor to ask anything more of him.

While we may not say those words out loud like this man did, are we guilty of living like we are content to be bench warmers in the church?


Paul and Barnabas were teachers in the church. They probably held this position in an official capacity. You and I may not be given a Sunday school class to teach, but we have teaching opportunities around us. There are young people who look to us to be an example.

I had just arrived home from my freshman year in college when a friend from high school told me that he had always looked up to me as a good example. I wasn’t sure at the time that I wanted to accept the responsibility of having people following my example. But whether we like it or not, we are an example to those around us. What are we teaching?


These men were surrendered and ready to answer the call as soon as it came. They didn’t have to debate the topic. Paul and Barnabas didn’t have to “come back to the Lord” so that they could be used. They were ready and willing when the call of God arrived.

You’ve probably heard testimonies of how God called someone but they ran from the call. Thankfully, they eventually surrendered (otherwise you would not be hearing the testimony). And I am glad they did. But sometimes we tend to think that is what makes a good testimony. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can be surrendered and ready to serve the Lord as soon as He begins to move in our life.

Spiritual Maturity

Though these verses in Acts 13 don’t directly talk about the spiritual maturity of Barnabas and Paul, it does say that they were teachers in the ministry in Antioch. We know that Paul spent quite some time, even before his salvation, studying the Old Testament. Through his writings we see a man who knew what it was to pray, study and expound God’s Word.

Are you and I growing in our spiritual life? Sometimes we may say, “I’m doing much better today than I was 2 years ago.” That is great. But are you doing better today spiritually than you ever have? It is possible, especially for those of us who have been in church a long time, to be more spiritually hungry than we were last year, but yet still not desire the things of God as much today as we did 30 years ago.

How are you doing in these four areas? Are you ready to answer the call if God should lead you? You don’t have to know everywhere that God may take you in life. I’m sure Paul and Barnabas had no idea how the Lord would lead them. But, like them, we should be serving in our local church preparing for the day that call might come.

This entry was posted in Missions. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.