During this time some prophets traveled from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up in one of the meetings and predicted by the Spirit that a great famine was coming upon the entire Roman world. (This was fulfilled during the reign of Claudius.) So the believers in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could. This they did, entrusting their gifts to Barnabas and Saul to take to the elders of the church in Jerusalem. (NLT)
When confronted with a serious threat to human well-being, the Antioch church didn’t spend a lot of time forming study groups and asking committees to come up with reports. They didn’t demand the government do something about it (in those days such options were severely limited in any case). They didn’t just pray and wish others well.
They acted. They sent material aid, thus depriving themselves of such assets. They didn’t seem to spend time arguing about whether it was God’s will, or God’s rebuke, or debating the validity of that prophecy or prophecy in general. Not that these things are inherently wrong. It is just that talk is cheap and the hungry aren’t fed by committee reports or church position papers.
We cannot pretend to be able to understand the nature and reasons for chaos and hardship in our world. We cannot assume we can readily fix it. After all, the human beings entrusted with such a task belong to the same species that spawned the chaos and hardship in the first place.
But we can do what we can. We are not to be paralysed by fear or confusion. Just because we can’t do everything doesn’t mean we can do nothing.
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