BIBLE READING: ACTS 13
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
This is the church at Antioch. This church was blessed with some amazing, godly men. Every church needs men like these. Notice first that “they ministered to the Lord”. It does not say here and that they ministered “for” the Lord. Obviously in all that they did, they were all involved in ministering for the Lord but even more importantly, they took time to minister “to” the Lord. What does this mean? This word “ministered” means that they “worshipped” The Lord. You and I need to learn something from this. Our “worship of God” is literally our “ministry to God”. We always think of “ministry” as that which we do for other people, but literally you and I have a ministry to the Lord Himself, and that ministry is our worship.
Secondly, we see that they fasted. This was a regular, vital part of their life. It should be to ours also. Notice that they worshipped, fasted, prayed, and then God called Paul and Barnabas to the ministry of church planting. It is no coincidence that God always seems to call men that are already serving. God calls men that are already praying. God seems to call the men that are already sold out to Him. These men didn’t get called to the ministry and then suddenly decide that they needed to get serious about the Lord, and start praying and fasting. Notice in verse two that we are told that God had called Barnabas and Saul for the “work” that He had called them to. It did not say the fun, the comfort, the salary, or the popularity He called them to. It is “work” that God has called us to.
Finally, notice the protocol that was followed in this chapter. The men prayed, fasted, and worshiped, then God called them. After God called them, they prayed, fasted and worshiped. Then they took off on their journey to serve the Lord, and you will find through the rest of their ministry that they regularly prayed, fasted and worshipped. The result is that in verse four, they were sent forth “by the Holy Ghost”. We have enough mama called, people called, family called, and popularity called men. Those that really make a difference are “Holy Ghost called”.
These were just a bunch of men that had been saved by the grace of God, and decided that God is worthy to be worshiped, that they would be committed enough to pray, and that they were desperate enough to start fasting. God took it from there.