Summary: Even though many disciples relished the privilege to preach in the name of Jesus, persecution caused many to quit. They thrived on the sense of power as they spoke with the enabling of the Holy Spirit, but disliked the opposition they encountered.
Taking the Pleasant With the Unpleasant
1. Why do you think some people grow tired of their jobs? Every job has its so called good and bad points. Yet, some aspects of service are not always considered as important as less enjoyable aspects.
Even though many disciples relished the privilege to preach in the name of Jesus, persecution caused many to quit. They thrived on the sense of power as they spoke with the enabling of the Holy Spirit, but disliked the opposition they encountered.
The disciples rejoiced in the liberty given in the Spirit, but struggled to know how to maneuver around the legalistic perceptions of their Jewish listeners. The young Christians felt energized by the Spirit, but grew tired of having to go to great lengths to reach the lost.
Most of all the apostles rejoiced that they were able to make a contribution to Christ’s kingdom, but struggled with people who disagreed with their processes.
Application: Ask God to help you learn how to take the pleasant with the unpleasant aspects of being a servant of Jesus Christ.
2. The apostles knew they had many responsibilities, but remained committed to the priorities of Christ and His kingdom. Many people become so wrapped up in the minor responsibilities that they forget to concentrate on God’s major priorities.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you resist the tendency to get bogged down in minor processes while neglecting His major priorities.
3. The apostles endured the pain of opposition while keeping their goal on Christ. Expect opposition from those who are yet to rise to the higher levels of spiritual maturity, commitment or knowledge of God’s higher purposes.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to not grow weary, discouraged or frustrated by the evil machinations of those who would hinder Christ’s kingdom building ministries.
4. The apostles remembered that it was sufficient to do the work of God since He would take care of the results. Do not think you are the only one responsible for producing a crop. One may plant and another may water, but God gives the eternal growth.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you resist the temptation to think that you are responsible for things that are not really your responsibility.
5. The apostles remembered great men like Nehemiah who were called to build something great. Remember you are called to help build His kingdom and righteousness – nothing more and nothing less. Avoid getting stressed out by trying to accomplish more success or less service than what it in His will.
Application: Ask the Lord to help you to constrain your expectations to no more and no less than what He directs you to do.
6. The apostles realized that eventually each ministry may reach a point of diminishing returns. Paul and Barnabas recognized there is a time in every ministry when continual preaching may be unwarranted. Do not be a martyr when you may actually be showing censurable indiscretion.
Application: Trust the Lord to give you the intelligence, wisdom and discernment to know when to pull back and when to persist. We are called to be faithful but not foolhardy. Ask the Lord to help you be sensitive to His timing in knowing when to move on to other things.