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Being Commended By God

“And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’ So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Acts 14:21-23)

Paul and Barnabas went from city to city, doing the same thing over and over: making disciples and they encouraged them when they came back through, strengthening their souls. This is exactly what any of us do when we minister to someone: we strengthen that person’s soul in Christ.

Then, Paul and Barnabas moved on.

“And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.” (Acts 14:24-25)

They had experienced stoning, mob riots - all sorts of opposition, yet they retraced their steps despite the possible danger to themselves.

“From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.” (Acts 14:26)

It’s nice when we see things come full circle. This is where they were ordained to do this trip and now they are back having accomplished the mission. I like the way Luke says this:

“…where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.” (Acts 14:26b)

The word translated as “commended” is the Greek word “paradidomi”; it means “to surrender, i.e. yield up, entrust, transmit, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up), hazard, put in prison, recommend.”

It speaks of how even when we know it is God at work in and through someone it is still sometimes hard to do it. These were two beloved men; they mattered to the people in Antioch, yet those “surrendered” them.

It also speaks to how one can comprehend and practice the Lordship of Christ in the way they live their lives and manage relationships. These men did not belong to the church that was in Antioch; they belonged to Jesus and He had the right to send them wherever He wished. When the people "paradidomi'ed" them, they acknowledged and practiced this.

As I write this (early November 2007) one of our Christian sisters named Sabrina, who I know from my travels to the St. Louis area, is in Thailand ministering. She has a husband and children who love her and friends in the St. Louis area who also love her. All those have yielded her up to do the Lord’s will. They have, in effect, given her to Him who really does own her to do with as He sees fit. (She has also surrendered herself in this same way.)

“…where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.” (Acts 14:26b)

Sabrina has been “commended”, yielded to the Lord.

As I re-read that verse in Acts 14:26, it seems more deliberate than what I just wrote.

“…they had been commended to the grace of God”

They had been commended specifically to the grace of God. When used like this the grace of God is a specific thing and is not general at all.

Specific grace is released by God for specific tasks.

These men were “graced” to do a certain task.

“…they had been commended to the grace of God for the work…”

God does this with us all the time....sometimes in seemingly mundane ways. Our sister Sabrina is currently fulfilling the reason she was commended for this task. Specific grace was released to her to go to Thailand and she is fulfilling that and that is exciting, but do you know what I think? I think that the week before her trip to Thailand, when she was making meals for her husband and children and washing clothes and shopping for food she was fulfilling the work of mom and wife.

She had been commended to the grace of God for THAT work as well.

Specific grace is released by God for specific tasks.

All of us have these so-called mundane things. Sometimes we think, “It’s just what I do; it’s my regular day to day life.” I think that is an error and a serious error at times because it causes us to not appreciate how the little works that God assigns to us are for a purpose, HIS purpose and, therefore, are all important. There are no small players in His kingdom and in his plans. There is the King....and all of us who are equally important.

I also think that line of thinking that says that whatever we are doing is just life and not a commission from God cheats us out of receiving the grace to which we were commended (for the purpose of equipping us for those works.) If it really is “just life” then it’s all up to us to dredge up the power to do it.

However, if God really does “grace” us to do tasks to which He Himself has called us, the grace IS from which the ability type of power (dunamis) to do the works comes.

It is to His praise that we receive it as coming from Him, since it does! It would be good for us to see it in that light so we could fully receive that grace and fully move in it. Then someone can say this about us:

“…they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.” (Acts 14:26b)

I want that to be my legacy: “I completed the work that God commended me to do.” I want to use up all that grace (if that is possible) and complete the work. I would like that to be our legacy:

“We completed the work that God commended us to do.”

That word translated here as “completed” is the Greek word “pleroo”; it means that they more than completed it - they did it super-abundantly. When we harvest the specific grace supplied for specific tasks and finish the work, we fully satisfy it; and when we do that we are fully satisfied! This is because it is then that we truly step fully into our potentials, realizing our God given purposes.

It’s delicious!

Let’s reassess our lives through His eyes. Let’s take a look around and see what He has called us to be and do. He’s made us to be all sorts of seemingly mundane, everyday things: parents, spouses, friends, children, workers and co-workers, leaders, and so on.

All these commissions come with seemingly mundane, everyday tasks: making lunches, holding doors for one another, running errands, washing laundry, putting out the trash, driving around…..our daily routine activities. These all conspire to make us believe the lie that our lives are boring and unimportant. They make it seem as if God isn’t involved in our lives or that, if He is, what He brings to our lives is stale and humdrum.

We forget that He IS involved and that everything He brings to us is specific and is tailor-made for the lives He allows us to live.

“The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Let us fully embrace our commending. Let us harvest the grace that specifically issues forth from heaven from God for that to which He has called us. Let’s enjoy our lives! Let’s fully complete the work to which we have been called.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

Decatur, TX

© November 27, 2007

(For use with permission)

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