The package that came in the mail was nothing special. It was just a plain, brown manila envelope that slightly bulged in the middle.
There was no return address, but in scrawled black letters on the front, it read; King, Ryan King. Super Spy Extraordinaire.
Ripping the end of the package, the super spy slid out the disc and with expert hands inserted it into his laptop. Automatically, on came the classified mission, and a robotic voice filled the room.
Good morning, Mr. King. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the recovery of a stolen item designated "Chimera."
Also came the customary; this message will self-destruct in 10 seconds.
Once again, my imagination has taken over, but most little boys (and big boys) love the romanticism of a good adventure.
In Acts 11, we have Barnabas, super-spy extraordinaire sent out on a mission. It wasn’t necessarily a dangerous one, but it did have its importance.
In the city of Antioch, men and women came preaching the gospel and many Greeks were saved and a church was established there.
(Act 11:20-21) And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
The church at Jerusalem heard what happened and sent Barnabas to check on them.
When Barnabas arrived at the church at Antioch, he wasted no time in initiating his mission.
(Act 11:23-24) Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
Keeping true to his nickname, the son of consolation (comfort, encouragement, exhortation) Barnabas immediately went into action.
He encouraged the church to with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
What a great statement!
His encouragement had two primary emphases to it. One, he wanted them to have purpose of heart.
This is important. In most areas of life we plan. We plan our meals, our retirement, and our vacations. But few Christians plan their spiritual lives. I don’t mean deciding what they are going to do, I mean planning to grow spiritually. Setting goals. Growing spiritually doesn’t happen by accident, it happens on purpose. Yet many Christians take a haphazard approach to spiritual growth. They don’t plan family or personal devotions, they don’t plan Bible studies, they just don’t plan. Their purpose of heart is on themselves, and not on the Lord. Barnabas wanted to encourage them to purpose their heart.
Two. He wanted them to purpose their heart (plan) to cleave unto the Lord. The word cleave means to stay fixed in one place.
Barnabas’ mission was to encourage the church to stay fixed on God. Regardless of what happens, to purpose in their hearts to cleave to the Lord.
I’m sure Barnabas had in mind the 57th Psalm while he was with the people.
(Psa 57:7) My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
This type of mission, to encourage others to keep their heart on God is something we can all do.
Too often our conversation gets side tracked on sports, weather, and other things that have no inherent eternal value.
Friends, this is your mission, should you choose to accept it...
Ryan King is pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Westville.