In our current home ownership endeavors at the 1911, there were a couple of huge tasks that needed to be accomplished. The first was a clearing of our fence line. So I would often find myself staring down vines, branches, thistles, thorns, and weeds trying to figure out how to remove it. Inch by inch, day by day, weekend by weekend, I would make a little bit of headway. One day I came into the house and proclaimed that the fence line was completed! Then the next project was digging a trench so that the water running down my driveway would not come up onto the front porch. This would require digging a 2ft by 2ft trench running the length of our front porch, about 70 feet in all. Again, inch by inch, day by day, weekend by weekend, I would make a little bit of headway. Until eventually, I had dug out, inserted a drain pipe, refilled with rock, and proclaimed completion. Jeff Manion, a pastor and author in Michigan, often says, "What if greatness does not come all at once? What if greatness is doing good things over and over and over again?" In Acts 14, we read of how Paul and Barnabas are establishing a pattern. Take a look:
The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers. 2 Some of the Jews, however, spurned God’s message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas. 3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4 But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7 And there they preached the Good News.
The pattern that Paul and Barnabas are establishing is that they enter a new town, find a Jewish synagogue and preach the Good News. I'm sure it seemed like a daunting task each time they had to move on and reestablish connections. If I would have given up on my fence line when it seemed difficult, it would have never been cleared. If I would have given up on my french drain when it seemed grueling, it would have never rerouted the water. If Paul and Barnabas had given up on proclaiming the Gospel, thousands of lives would have never heard the Good News. What tasks are haunting you today? Perhaps this is just the reminder that you need to keep putting one step in front of the other!
With sincere love for each of you,