And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord. Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch. When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.Acts 11:21-23 NKJV
I read this story yesterday, and it stopped me in my tracks. I thought, “If Barnabas came to our church, what would he see?” This says he came into their midst and saw the grace of God. What do you think he saw?
God’s grace accomplishes many things. Many of these things are works in the hearts of people. Though we can’t see a person’s heart, we can see the evidence in their actions. Lots of stuff that comes by grace can be detected with the naked eye. Here is a random list in the order of their appearance, not their importance:
- Miracles. They did signs and wonders by the grace of God. Acts 14:3
- Gratitude. Grace causes people to give thanks. Gratitude is the normal response to grace! 2 Corinthians 4:15
- Generosity. Grace produces a giving heart. 2 Corinthians 8:6-9
- Salvations. We are saved by grace. Salvations are evidence of God’s grace. Ephesians 2:8
- Kind speech. Grace produces a wise and kind tongue. Colossians 4:6
- Disciple-making. Grace empowers ministry gifts to make disciples. 2 Timothy 2:1-2
- Prayer. Grace prompts bold prayer. Hebrews 4:16
- Service. Grace enables believers to serve one another. 1 Peter 4:10
As we head for church today, let’s be on the lookout. What do we see when we enter the fellowship of God’s people? I’m looking for miracles, grateful and generous people, testimonies of changed lives, gracious words, powerful prayer, and hearts for service. If any of these are missing, I plan to do something to change that in the near future. Join me. Let’s do this!