The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In Acts 12:24-25, the Gospel is spreading very actively. God has shown his superiority by putting an end to Herod the king. He has shown his knowledge of the needs of his people by having the prophet Agabus tell of an upcoming famine. He has shown his care for people by inspiring his followers to gather an offering for the saints in Jerusalem. Now he uses the famine situation to test and approve some leaders.
From Antioch, Barnabas, who was originally sent by the apostles in Jerusalem, returns to Jerusalem with the offering for famine relief. However, we note that he does it at the request of the Christian leaders in Antioch, taking his directive from the local congregation. Further, he brings along not only Saul, whom he gathered in Tarsus, but also John Mark. Saul, also called Paul, and Mark, became prominent Christian leaders in their own right.
The principle we find here is that ministers of the Gospel work together. The local gathering has some sovereignty. They can appoint people to tasks. Also, those appointed to tasks of ministry, as was Barnabas, can gather others in to work with them. By this means, the body of Christ grows and spreads. Additional laborers are prepared for their work. The leaders of the Church still weigh activities and messages. But they don’t precisely govern or dictate. The work is more collaborative.
This is the idea of the fellowship of Christian leaders. It’s a challenging way to live and work. Yet it seems to be the way the Lord was working, at least at this point in history. Can we rediscover it? Maybe so, maybe not. However, we can know that it has been done in the past. Maybe it can in the future.
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