And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
Thoughts for Today:We don't know too much about the time Paul and Barnabas spent in Antioch following the completion of their first missionary trip, other than "they stayed there a long time." I'm sure it wasn't like they didn't do anything; it's just that the time was more for rest and re-energizing than for any other recorded purpose. The Bible tells us the earth was created in six days, and on the seventh day the Lord rested. Jesus explains in Mark 2:27, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." In other words, the Lord is instructing that we too need rest and too much work is unhealthy for us. Perhaps Paul and Barnabas needed this time for their bodies and minds to rest and heal from the rigors of the trip; maybe they needed further education and training; or to build a stronger and deeper base of believers in Antioch, we just don't know. What we do know is they did not begin a new, second missionary venture for almost two years, which is a long time to stay in one place for most of us.
Have you ever met anyone who can't sit still; who is just full of nervous energy and tension? Do you see yourself in that description? I am convinced the reason many Christians miss God's direction in their lives is because they haven't learned to quiet themselves and be patient -- to wait on the Lord. It seems that some of us feel we are missing something if we are not moving. However, sometimes the Lord may want you, just as Paul and Barnabas from our passage today, to stay somewhere for "a long time."
So what should you do? Within that question lies the problem: You are not to do anything. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Hebrews 4:10 clarifies this further, "for anyone who enters God's rest, rests from his own work." Many times when we maintain a frenetic pace of activity, we are not doing the Lord's work but our own, and therefore aren't able to enjoy the full blessing and joy the Lord intended for us. We fill every day to the maximum, and then wonder why we don't have time to serve the Lord, or the Lord isn't using us in ministry. It's because we've become far too busy.
Questions to Ponder:Do you have trouble resting? Do you have difficulty staying in one place for a long time? What is the Lord's purpose in your time in-between missions? Do you need to recuperate? Do you need re-training or additional education? Do you need to spend more time with a friend or loved one? Have you misused the time the Lord gave you? Have you filled it with busy work or the Lord's? How will you change?