ACTS 13:3
Barnabas: Going
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Acts 13:3   When they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them
(Paul and Barnabas), they sent them away.”

With regard to expanding Christ’s kingdom, Barnabas exemplified not only pray?ing ?(AC 13:1-2) and giving (AC 4:37), but also going.  The three go to?gether.  The more we pray about mis?sions, the more we give, and the more likely we are to go.  For missions to succeed, some must pray, some must give, some must go.
This message is drawn from the works of my number one missions pastor he?ro, Oswald Smith, long-time pastor of The Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada.
When Dr. Alexander Duff, veteran missionary to India, came home to Scot?land to die, he stood before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and made an appeal for others to go to India, but no one responded.  At the lectern, he had a fainting spell and was carried off the platform.  As a doctor bent over him, examining his heart, Duff opened his eyes and asked, “Where am I?  Where am I?”
The doctor told him, “Lie still, your heart is very weak,” but the old warrior re?fused to stay down.  “I must finish my appeal.  Take me back.  I haven’t finished my appeal yet.”  The doctor repeated, “Lie still, you are too weak to go back.”
The old missionary struggled to his feet, determination overcoming weak?ness.  With the doctor on one side and the moderator on the other, Dr. Duff again mounted the platform.  The whole Assembly stood in his honor as he contin?ued to appeal for India.  “When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers for India, hun?dreds of young men respond; but when King Jesus calls, no one goes.”  He paused, but still no one responded.  “Is it true that Scotland has no more sons to give for In?dia?”
Again he paused, but still no one responded.  “Very well,” he con?cluded, “if Scot?land has no more young men to send to India, then, old and de?crepit though I am, I will go back, and though I cannot preach, I can lie down on the shores of the Ganges and die, in order to let the peoples of India know that there is at least one man in Scotland who cares enough for their souls to give his life for them.”
At this moment young men all over the Assembly began springing to their feet, crying out, “I’ll go!  I’ll go!”  After the famous missionary passed away, many of these young men journeyed to India, to invest their lives as missionaries.
How are you and I doing in this matter of going?  Before our missions and ministry revival began some five years ago, I believed I could stay in Springfield and please God.  I somehow had blinders on, which kept me from seeing the obvi?ous in the Bible.  It is impossible to carry out the Lord’s commands without going.  As long as people remain in darkness, we are duty bound to go carry light to them.
Oswald Smith’s driving motto was an unanswerable question, “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice before everyone has heard it once?”  There is noth?ing wrong with people hearing the story of Jesus a thousand times, unless at the same time we never once try to take the story to those who have never heard.
When our Lord fed 5000, it would have been bizarre had His disciples only kept feeding the front row over and over again, while never going to back rows.  Had first rows been fed repeatedly, while last rows were neglected, those in the back would have eventually stood up and complained, pro?testing their being left out, “Jesus, back here.  We’re hungry, too.  It isn’t fair to feed only the front row.”
The call to go is God’s way of making sure we care for the back row, for those who do not cry for themselves.  We talk about a second blessing; they’ve not heard of the first yet.  We speak of Christ’s second coming; they don’t know about His first coming.  We must go carry the bread of life to the world’s back rows.
We labor in God’s harvest, the field being the whole world, not just Spring?field or Missouri or the USA or the uttermost.  Each of these is a vital portion, but none is the whole.  We must go to the entire field, to every part of the world.
Imagine an estate.  The Master has to leave, but tells his servants he will re?turn, and while he’s gone, they are to cultivate the entire estate.  They begin near the house, beautifying the lawn, garden and flower-bed.  Next year weeds begin to grow, but they again work hard near the house, perfecting the lawn, garden, and flower-bed.  One day one of the servants remembers the Master’s orders and an?nounces, “I must go out into the field.  Master told us to cultivate the whole es?tate.”  His fellow workers try to discourage him, “We can’t spare you here.  Weeds keep growing close to the house.  Too much needs to be done near?by.”  In spite of their protests, he leaves and begins working in a far corner of the estate.  Soon two others remember the command of their Master and make their way to other far reaches of the fields.  One day the Master returned unannounced.  He is thrilled at the perfectly trimmed lawn, garden, and flower-bed near His house, but as he strolls out to examine the rest of his estate, his heart sinks.  It is wilderness and marsh.  Obviously, little effort was made to cultivate it.  In the distance he sees one worker laboring alone in the midst of huge weeds.  A different direc?tion he sees the second worker, way off by himself, trying to tame wilderness.  Another direction he sees the third worker, all alone, battling an impossible marsh?.  After richly rewarding the three servants, he returns to the house, where the other work?ers are expecting great rewards.  But they quickly tell by the look on Master’s face he is not happy with them.  “Are you not going to reward us?  Aren’t your lawn, garden, and flower-bed beautiful?  Why are you disap?point?ed?”  “Because,” Mas?ter re?plies, “you forgot my orders.  I didn’t tell you to work the same area again and again, year after year.  I told you to bring the entire estate under cultivation.  You didn’t do it, and didn’t even try to help the three who did, thus no reward.”
What are we going to do this year to help bring God’s whole estate under cultivation?  Where will we go to drive back wilderness?  No farmer ever works only a tiny corner of his farm, but will we be guilty of that very blunder this year?
As long as people are in danger of everlasting fire, we all must find our place in the bucket-brigade and help convey living water.  Some must pray, draw?ing water from God’s well of protection and anointing.  Some must give, passing buckets from hand to hand, making sure money is given to those seeking to ex?tin?guish flames of lostness.  But, even if we all pray, drawing power from God’s well, and even if we all give, conveying support, the whole brigade is useless un?less some go and stand at the end of the bucket brigade to throw water on the fire.
We must go, some short-term, some long-term, some to Springfield, some to Missouri, some to the USA, some to the uttermost.  There has to be contact with the people we seek to save.  Someone has to deliver the living water in person.
The Great Commission is not given to mission boards and societies, nor is it given to local churches or Sunday School classes.  These are all support groups, existing to help individuals, the ones to whom the Great Commission is given.  Let’s fulfill our reason for existing.  The mission of every Christian is missions.
To have the heart of God, we must go.  In one deed, the incarnation, God re?vealed by His own example ?what should be done for sinners far away.  “God had only one Son, and He made Him a missionary.  Can we do less?” (Oswald Smith).
Dr. Duff still appeals.  Will we respond?  Back rows are waiting to be fed.  Will we in the front rows go feed them?  Our lawn, garden, and flower-bed look great.  What about the rest of the estate?  The world is on fire.  Are we somewhere in the bucket-brigade, dousing the blaze?  Untold mil?lions are still untold.  “Why should anyone hear the Gospel twice before everyone has heard it once?”