Acts 11:25 – Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
When we examine the story of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus to his being set in the office of Apostle by Holy Spirit, we can read the entire story in a matter of minutes, and in just a few more minutes, we can flesh out the story by reading Paul’s own testimony in Galatians 1. In less than a half hour, we can read through almost 20-years of a man’s life and ministry. Unless we exercise integrity in our reading, we will gain no understanding of the passage of time in Paul’s life. When leaders in the church, especially those tasked with the developing of young ministers, do not clearly see this, I believe there begins to arise a great impatience in younger ministers.
Now don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. Surely the Lord can call, raise up, equip, train, and use whomever He chooses, when He chooses, at whatever rate of development He chooses. However, the Scriptures do have strong things to say about young men, novices, being involved in ministry. Allow me to explain. Consider what I say. A reading that can be accomplished in 30-minutes took almost two decades to live. Read our Manna for Today, and do you own calculations to discover this timetable.
- Saul is converted on the road to Damascus.
- Three days later he receives his sight, is Spirit-filled, and receives his ministry vision.
- He spends days, possibly a few weeks, ministering in Damascus.
- He travels into the desert of Arabia for a short season – several days or a few weeks.
- He returns to Damascus and ministers there for three years.
- Threatened by the Jews, Saul goes to Jerusalem for 15-days, where he sees on Peter and James, the Lord’s brother.
- He leaves Jerusalem and ministers for a time (unknown duration) in Syria and Cilicia.
- From there he returns to his home in Tarsus, remaining there for 14-years.
- This is where Barnabas is sent to find him and bring him out for ministry.
- For some time, Saul ministers with Barnabas, possibly a year or so.
- Finally, while traveling together in Antioch, Holy Ghost sets Barnabas and Saul aside into the office of apostle. At this point, it has been 18 to 19-years since Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion.
This is not a 30-minute journey. My friend, God has a plan for you. If it does not come to pass in a week or two, don’t give up, become discouraged, or turn from it. Now 48-years in ministry, at 70-years of age, I am still moving forward, step-by-step in fulfilling the heavenly vision placed in my own heart. Be patient, remain faithful, follow through, live obediently. Your future awaits. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Manna for Today – Acts 11:19-30; Acts 9:1-31; Galatians 1; Acts 13:1-3; Psalm 37:23