Focus on Praise Not Problems

And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

—Acts 14:27

At the end of Acts 14 Barnabas and Paul gave an account of their first missionary journey. While I am sure they shared much from their trip the thing the Bible emphasizes is that they praised God for what He had done in opening opportunities to share the Gospel.

It must have been an easy trip. Surely they didn’t have any problems and were blessed to preach and see hundreds saved. It was an ideal mission trip. Right?

Well, no.

At the beginning of Acts 13 they were sent out by the Holy Spirit from Antioch to start their first journey. It was during this trip that John Mark left them. They did see many Jews begin to follow them in Antioch in Pisidia (Turkey) after preaching in a synagogue. However, the next week when the Gentiles gathered to hear what Paul and Barnabas had to say the formerly friendly Jews became angry. They didn’t think the Gospel should have been preached to the Gentiles. They kicked them out of their city.

The team packed up and moved on to Iconium. The Bible says many Jews and Greeks believed on the Lord. Not all believed however. The unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and planned to stone the missionaries. They moved on to Lystra. Though worshiped a short time as gods, they were eventually stoned in that city.

Yes many were saved, but there were hardships as well. They retraced their steps encouraging the ones who were saved in their first visit. They returned to the church in Antioch in Syria from which they were sent.

Verse 27 is essentially their prayer letter/mission trip report. Did they focus on the problems they had? The Bible says they told what had happened, but then it finishes the verse with them telling “how He [God] opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.”

In their missionary prayer letter they focused on praise to God, not on the problems which came their way. As we share with our friends about the ministry opportunities God gives us we should focus on the praise and not the problems. Yes, there will be problems, but we should view them in light of God advancing His ministry through them.

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