There Are Two Kinds of Christians…
In reading Acts 13:1-5, it becomes clear that there are two kinds of Christians: those who are sent and those who commission and support those who are sent. The Holy Spirit chose Barnabas and Saul to be sent (literally called apostles) and that the rest, including Simon, Lucius, and Manaen who were leaders, were to stay behind to build up the body of believers there. They were the supporters of the sent. The sent and the supporters of the sent; two kinds of Christians.
Over the years we’ve considered missionaries and evangelists to be people who travel to other places to people that we or they don’t know in order to share the good news. But what does it mean in our world today where we don’t have to go to another country or people in order to be sent to someone else with the gospel? Today to be sent means to go talk to a neighbor, co-worker or someone in our own family.
We’re all the sent–telling others about Jesus or at least where they can find Jesus (hopefully in our churches!). We’re all the supporters of the sent–doing our part in the life of the Christian community so that all experience opportunities for Christian formation–no matter how old or young, Christian community that is open to new people and changed by them, and opportunities to grow toward God and others.
But then, you have to consider the end of this chapter that finds Paul and Barnabas forced out of town because some were afraid that “their precious way of life was about to be destroyed” by this message of Jesus.
What is your “precious way of life” that might be destroyed if you truly shared your faith and your church with others? Might we lose control over what happens there–the style of music/worship, the decisions made about what it means to be church, who comes to church and who gets attention that might be lavished on ourselves?