While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.
They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.”
Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
When the Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas out on their first trip to spread the gospel, Paul went by the name Saul. But then he met and shared the gospel with Sergius Paulus. After Sergius Paulus accepted the invitation to know Jesus Christ, Saul began to be known as Paul. Some scholars say that Saul took the name Paul in honor of the first person that accepted his invitation to know Christ. I wonder if the two guys—Dominic and Nathan—who took me under their wing and then introduced me to Jesus are using my name today. I’d be okay with that; my relationship with them and their invitation changed my life. In fact, my desire to live an invitational life can be traced back to them. They got to know me, asked me questions, and taught me how to live.
Who has shared the gospel with you over the course of your life? How did your relationship (or lack of relationship) impact your response?
Who was the first person you encountered that really sought to live like Jesus and follow his teachings? What particular details stand out to you about that person?
Sit quietly and ask God to show you who he’s calling you to relate with, ask questions about, and show an interest in. Who came to mind? What is one step you could take to begin a relationship with that person?
God, thank you for the people I’ve known who took a risk and shared the gospel with me. Thank you for softening my heart toward you and opening my eyes to your grace and love. Allow my path to cross with people who are longing to be seen and known and help me to listen well, ask good questions, and be a light to them. Grant me the courage to take a risk when the time is right and extend them an invitation to know you. Amen.