Friday, November 27, 2009

Yellow Ribbon

While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:2-3 NAS)

Yellow RibbonIn March 2003, a group of women in Britain met on the Internet and decided to start a Yellow Ribbon Campaign amid a time of great hostility towards the Armed Forces for the impending military action in Iraq. The campaign is to show to the nation that military action aside, there was no reason not to support the brave service men and women in the Gulf.

A yellow ribbon is a symbol usually associated with people waiting for the return of a loved one or of military troops who are temporarily unable to come home. In a sense, it is not very dissimilar from the call to discipleship. As Christians, we are all called to wage war against the devil (Ephesians 6:12-13). Some, however, are specially called to be set aside to serve God in specific ministries, like Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2-3). These are the people whom we should give our support, just like the women who campaigned and gave their support for the Yellow Ribbon cause.

As the church in Antioch fasted, prayed, and laid hands to send Barnabas and Saul away, we should likewise give our support to these people whom God has chosen for specific tasks. We will of course miss them, yet we must not stop them from going, even if they are our loved ones. Many missionaries and evangelists are chosen by God to do a special work for Him. Do we as God's servants play our part in supporting people such as them or do we discourage them?

True discipleship is often tagged with a hefty price -- the price of separation from the local church and sometimes from the family. Jesus, when He enlisted His first disciples, said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of man." The disciples responded immediately and left whatever they were doing and followed Him (Matthew 4:19-20 NAS). This is the kind of specific calling that demands action, one that requires commitment and separation from the world.

Peter in the Gospel said to the Lord, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You." Jesus in reply said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life." (Mark 10:29-30 NAS).

As disciples of the Lord therefore our commitment to Him should be whole hearted. If we love our parents or our children more than Him, and do not take up our cross and follow after Him, we are not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38).

Help us dear Lord to be willing when we are called by You to do a task, even if it means to be separated from the people we loved. We know O God that obeying Your call is the best thing we can do, because in fulfilling Your will, we will be blessed and find fulfillment in You. Forgive us Lord for sometimes failing to give support to the people whom You have specially chosen to serve You in specific ministries. Stir our hearts Lord that we may do our part in giving full support to the ones You have called, and be willing to fast and pray for them and their ministries.

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