Acts 11:27 Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). 29 So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers[d] living in Judea. 30 And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
The church was experiencing growth, health and expansion in Antioch. However, the leadership was informed through a prophet that a famine was coming that would impact the known world. The church leadership responded by preparing an offering and sending it to other churches so they could better be prepared for the coming issues.
A few things…
-The church leadership was receptive to the prophet’s message. In other words, the local church leadership stayed humble and submissive to a word from God from other trusted and proven people.
-The early church was generous. When facing a coming famine, they thought of believers in other places and not just in their local church.
-The church sent missionaries out to meet both physical and spiritual needs of other believers in a different region.
Church can easily become a Sunday show. We work hard perfecting services, pleasing our attenders and pushing our people in steps of discipleship. However, if all our efforts only are within our local congregation, we are missing the heart of the church. Being moved to serve and support other congregations was at the heart of the early church. It must also be at our heart as well. I also love that the local church leadership stayed open to the needs by receiving a word from outside the congregation. The elders of a local church, including ours must remain open to the movement of the Spirit through trusted spiritual leaders form outside our church. We are leaders, but we are not the final word. Though we are responsible for the people of our congregation, God speaks from outside of us to lead us to mission and ministry. We must stay open to that.
Father, thank you for the word this morning. You want our local church to stay humble and keep meeting the needs of the local congregation and other believers in different places.