So often history follows the leaders, but we also need a People’s History of the Church, where we learn from the stories of the common people. There are thousands and millions of supporting actors whose faithfulness and sacrifice in small ways provides a foundation for the advancement of the Kingdom. Many people like you and I who will likely never get our names in the history books.
We’ve been studying Acts 9:1-31, the conversion story of one of the biggest names in church history, Saul (aka the Apostle Paul). But instead of focusing on Saul, we’ve been trying to focus on the supporting cast. First, I would like to nominate two candidates for best supporting actor: Ananias and Barnabas, both faithful followers of Jesus who courageously and sacrificially stick their necks out to welcome Saul and help him in his mission.
There was also an amazing supporting cast: Saul’s men, the disciples in Damascus, and the Christian brothers in Jerusalem. All of them were faithful, courageous and sacrificial.
We learn from this supporting cast that faithfulness to Christ will almost always call us to sacrifice in some way, such as our time, comfort, ease, finances. But the joy of being sacrificially faithful wins in the end.
What we see in this amazing story is that all of us have a vital role in the Kingdom. It doesn’t matter if there is a pandemic and you are mostly confined to your house. You don’t need to be a pastor or a worship leader or a missionary to pursue the mission of the Kingdom. We all have a critical role to play.
I believe this is perhaps the major question of the quarantine: how do we, the supporting cast, follow the mission of Jesus given our current situation? The method has changed, but the mission remains the same, and it is a mission for us all. Is fear and uncertainty keeping you from saying “yes” to a possible way of being sacrificially faithful to the mission of the Kingdom of God?
How are you making disciples in your own home? Parents, that is a mission for all of you. Grandparents, you can participate in this too. What can it look like to raise up the next generation, even while we are on quarantine? My family, for example, has several text threads going on with different sets of family members. I know that my kids’ grandparents are stuck in their homes, but they are daily praying for every one of us.
Parents, I know that many of you are feeling the heavy burden of facilitating your kids’ education like never before, unless you had done homeschooling before. But what about your kids’ spiritual development? You are a vital supporting cast member in that.
Then consider your neighbors and friends. Of course following the guidelines of social distancing, how can you be creative and innovative in expressing the love of Jesus to them. Saul’s disciples lowered him through the city wall in a basket! How wonderfully creative. Let’s allow quarantine to inspire us to experiment like that.
My next door neighbor has been diagnosed with Covid-19, so Michelle baked her some cookies, and we texted her that they were on her back porch, saying we were praying for her. We are talking as a family about what else we can do. Thankfully our neighbor is recovering, and this week was able to go back her job at the hospital.
We are all the supporting cast! What a privilege and honor. The mission of Jesus is our mission too! Let us be willing to live a faithfully sacrificial life for our good and gracious God. Over the years I’ve heard numerous people say that when they were feeling “stuck” in life, if they chose to step outside of themselves and reach out sacrificially into others’ lives, it helped them feel a bit less stuck as they helped someone else! Why? Because we are meant to be about other people. We are created for mission.
Let’s continue to be supporting members on a mission for the Kingdom of God. Let’s allow our perspective and our thoughts to roam just a bit more on who God is, and dwell on what is going on in families outside our four walls, and how our families might be able to be just a bit more focused on the needs of others around us. As we do that, let’s watch God work, and let’s sacrificially join him in his work.