….confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. Acts 14:22-23 KJV
When God sends you on an errand, or bids you to go into anything for His sake, you have no excuse whatsoever to stop half-way. Unless the Lord tells you to stop, or death stops you, you must keep on working for the Lord- through trials and triumphs. This is one thing that was projected clearly as Saul and Barnabas continued their missionary journeys.
They faced a lot of things on their way to fulfilling God’s command to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom. Wherever the went and preached, some responded positively while others responded negatively. There were powerful signs and wonders worked through the hands of Paul and Barnabas, but there were trials and troubles too.
They were misunderstood by those they preached to. They were opposed by fellow Jews. They were attacked at Iconium and they escaped. When they come to Lystra, the people of the land wanted to worship them as deities after they had healed a well-known crippled man. However, it was not long afterwards that the same people were moved to attack them. In fact, they stoned Paul till they thought he was dead and so they dragged him out of the town. But did Paul stop preaching? NEVER! He entered the next town, Derbe, and continued preaching!
Years later, Paul was to give the reason for his doggedness in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians 4 vs. 1, “Since God has so generously let us in on what he is doing, we’re not about to throw up our hands and walk off the job just because we run into occasional hard times.” (MSG)
It is strange to see men and women today who claim that God led them into a marriage relationship, or into a ministry, or into a business; and they even had the Church lay hands on them to commission their marriage, ministry or business. However, after some time they opt out and no longer continue in the marriage, business or ministry. Why? Because of the troubles they had experienced. Paul says that is not the way. Hard times don’t scare those who God had sent on an assignment. In fact, they encouraged the brethren to expect troubles, and to see sufferings as the divinely approved means of entering God’s kingdom.
It was not long afterwards, Paul and Barnabas passed through those cities again; encouraging and strengthening the brethren. That they had been previously persecuted in those cities didn’t stop them from visiting them again.
AND SO? What’s the secret of lasting in God’s work and commission through all trials and triumphs? It is found in vs. 23: Paul and Barnabas also appointed elders in every church. With prayer and fasting, they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Acts 14:23 NLT
Foremostly, they were men of prayer and fasting. Secondly, they yielded everything about their lives to God in whom they had trusted. They believed that the One who sent them on this errand will bless them and help them. Hence, they put all their trust in Him, they entrusted all the fruits of their labours to Him; and it is in keeping with Divine ordinance, that no one who trusts in the Lord will ever be put to shame.