The author of Hebrews challenges us to spur one another on to love and good deeds. While this becomes the natural fruit of a transformed life, laziness creeps in and sometimes we need to be provoked to keep at it. In reading about the church in Antioch, we learn that these new believers were generous and were willing to give sacrificially to help those in need. All we have is God’s, and he is constantly urging us to live with open hearts of mercy and open hands of blessing. The world often operates with the mindset of scarcity which makes us think we can’t give because we won’t have enough left for ourselves. But Jesus asks us to live with the mindset of abundance, trusting he knows our needs and will supply them. When we learn to live in the Lord’s abundance, we can give freely out of gratitude and with joy!
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.