In Acts 11, we read the report that the church in Antioch continued in its mission to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ even though they faced stiff persecution. This impressed the leadership back in Jerusalem, so they sent a Barabas to see what was going on and encourage the people in Antioch in their mission.
Eventually, however, it would be the people of Antioch who would take the lead in encouraging the church in Jerusalem. It came about after a prophet, Agabus, predicted that there would be a famine throughout the Roman Empire, which included Jerusalem and all of Judea. The people in Antioch were immediately concerned and they organized a mission effort to help support the people and the church.
The people of Antioch could have easily said, “Well, we have bigger issues over here. We need to take care of our own families first.” Instead, they took a different route all together and said they would care for the needs of others within the church. Even though the church in Antioch faced persecution the people felt a deep sense and desire to help others.
That is something important for us. So often we can get caught up and believe that our own corner of the world is what is most important. That this is the area that we must focus on and directly care for. There is some truth in that, yes, but we are also reminded that we are all connected to one another. It is something the church in Antioch never forgot. They knew that they were connected to the church in Jerusalem and, thus, they wanted to help.
As we often say, though we are many we are truly one body serving together to proclaim the name of Christ. We have a responsibility, therefore, to help the church wherever it is at work in its missions and ministries. This doesn’t mean we can help in every instance, but it does mean that when we have the opportunity and the gifts to do so that we should. The church’s ministry is enhanced when we see ourselves working together as one instead of many parts competing for the same space.
What would it mean for us to see ourselves as more connected to the church global? How would it enhance our ministries? How might we be able to bless the church across the world in its work to share the name of Christ?