Links Daily Devotional

Minor Developments

Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. (Acts 11:25, NIV)

If you hate hype, this is probably not the week to punch the golf channels into your remote. The Open Championship (or “British Open,” if you’re willing to ruffle a few purist feathers) starts tomorrow, and you can count on the reporting of major developments all throughout the weekend.

Acts 11:25 is no refrigerator verse. We don’t memorize it and hold its truth close to our heart. But there is wonder in it.That’s a play on words, of course. Not everything that happens in a major championship is a “major development” in our normal thinking. And even in that context, what’s major to one person may be small beans to another.

So let’s set the major developments aside for a few minutes and take up lesser matters. You can even call them “minor developments” with me, and we’ll be contrary together—like those whose needle of the week is “British Open.”

You’re almost certainly knowledgeable in the basics of the life of the apostle Paul. Once a rising Jewish leader named Saul, he attended the stoning of Stephen and was bent on bringing suffering to anyone else who claimed that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah. Then came the Damascus road. Saul was met there by Jesus himself and in a matter of hours, really, went from persecutor to preacher.

We’re not surprised, then, when we come across lines in the ensuing chapters of Acts that identify the suspicions of the people about the authenticity of Saul’s conversion. Was he laying a trap for those who truly believed?

Into this context stepped Barnabas, master of encouragement, who summoned Saul to join him in Antioch for a season of affirmation and ministry advancement. With Barnabas’ backing, Saul could freely testify to what Christ had done for him. The people were convinced: Saul’s new life was real. And not long after, Barnabas and Saul set off as missionaries of the gospel.

Acts 11:25 is no refrigerator verse. We don’t memorize it and hold its truth close to our heart. But there is wonder in it, for this minor development catapulted Saul into a ministry that changed the reach of the gospel and resulted in so much of the Scripture we read today.

In anticipating the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem after the exile of Israel to Babylon, the prophet Zechariah challenged his hearers, “Who dares despise the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10) May we reply, “Not us!” May we see in the works of God how he maneuvers the small to ignite the big. In his hands, minor is as meaningful as major—they are both part of his plan.

Jeff Hopper
July 19, 2017
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