At the end of the year, the burden of uncompleted tasks can weigh us down. Responsibilities at home and work may seem never-ending, and those unfinished today roll into tomorrow. But there are times in our journey of faith when we should pause and celebrate God’s faithfulness and the tasks completed.
After the first missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas, “they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed” (Acts 14:26). While much work remained in sharing the message of Jesus with others, they took time to give thanks for what had been done. “They gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (v. 27).
What has God done through you during the past year? How has He opened the door of faith for someone you know and love? In ways we can’t imagine, He is at work through us in tasks that may seem insignificant or incomplete.
When we feel painfully aware of our unfinished tasks in serving the Lord, let’s not forget to give thanks for the ways He has worked through us. Rejoicing over what God has done by His grace sets the stage for what is to come!
Lord, as this year comes to a close, we give thanks for all You have accomplished in and through us. By Your grace, lift our eyes to see what is to come!
God is always at work in and through us.
This inaugural missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas covered nearly 900 miles, much of it on foot. At first the duo met primarily with Jewish audiences. In the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch (in modern-day Turkey) Paul appealed to the Jewish heritage of his hearers. He outlined Israel’s history and clearly showed how it culminated in the coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:13–41). Paul’s biblical preaching so intrigued his listeners that they invited him back the following Sabbath.
So many people returned to hear him the next week that it set off a jealous reaction among some influential Jews in Antioch (v. 45). This didn’t appear to faze Paul and Barnabas, who simply turned to the Gentiles who were present and quoted Isaiah 49:6 to them: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” The church grew. The opposition Paul and Barnabas faced merely resulted in the expansion of the gospel message and contributed to the overall success of their missionary journey.