Saturday, June 25, 2016

Are We Still "Setting them Apart"?

What does it mean to be "set apart"?  In Acts 13:2 its says "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.'” ESV

In this context, the Holy Spirit challenged the local church to
dedicate certain people to a special and unique task, that of seeing His Kingdom expanded among the Gentile world.  In similar ways, those who are called to take the gospel to the last, least and lost must be "set apart" for that task. Churches, families, communities, and even mission organizations must be willing to set them apart.

In the early church, there must have been many important leadership gaps that needed to be filled.  Barnabas and Saul were mature and gifted men of God.  The church in Antioch was growing as was the church all over.  It was a sacrifice to release these men, to dedicate them to the task of going to the Gentiles.  Yet, that was what the Holy Spirit directed the church elders to do.

Are we willing to send our best leaders to pioneer in new places?  Are we willing to release them to go and follow the calling God has for them? Might we even encourage them to consider leaving us and going to those who have never heard good news?  That is the first step.

After they go, are we willing to continue to release them?  Maybe even from some of the normal meetings, reports or administrative duties that others are required to participate in? Its a true challenge for us!

If we know we have been called to be those sent ones, lets make sure we continue to stay "set apart."  Set apart from all the things that distract and deter us from our focus and calling.  Things like; social media, many kinds of conferences, extra overseas travel, status based positions on leadership teams and boards, obligations that we aren't necessarily called to but say yes to anyhow.  If God set us apart for a particular calling, we have a responsibility to stay focused on that and learn to say ourselves and to others too.

For those of us who are leaders of those who are set apart to go to the unreached, or have sent them out, let's pray for them to stay focused on the task. Let's do whatever we can to help them be released to devote themselves to reaching the lost rather than to administrative or organization obligations we think might be good for them (or for us). 

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