“They shook the dust off their feet and were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. . .”
Paul and Barnabus had just laid it all out there. Their ministry. A message. Themselves. Some accepted that message and were completely transformed.
But according to some, Paul and Barnabus were preaching to the wrong people. So they started making things hard for them.
Not a very great response, right?
Especially when you know that God led you there. How do we respond to rejection when we’ve tried to do everything right?
In Acts 13 Paul has just received some great news.
You are called.
He immediately begins to share the message with anyone who will listen.
Some Gentiles respond and that makes the Jewish leaders angry.
People of power and influence persecute Paul and he is forced to leave.
Paul’s reaction was to shake the dust off his feet as he left the city.
But it’s the rest of that sentence that captures my attention: . . .they left with joy and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Shaking the dust wasn’t a “forget you”, but simply a gesture that says we’re moving on.
Paul is able to move on filled with the Holy Spirit and joy because the response isn’t the measuring stick.
Obeying and listening to God is.
Recently I heard from a pastor’s wife who was discouraged. Her husband works long hours, as does she, and sometimes the response from church people is rejection or harsh words or a lack of gratitude.
Can we go back to this story in Acts 13? Yes, some responded with rejection, but others received the news with joy.
I shared with this pastor’s wife that years ago a pastor’s wife poured into me. Later that church went through a difficult period. In fact, so difficult that it ended the church. After years of serving, the rejection had to be overwhelming.
But it didn’t discount the fact that many were changed.
I was one of them.
A girl who had no church background fell in love with Jesus and went into ministry. It not only changed my life, but my children’s lives because they were born to a woman who loved Jesus. That woman’s obedience led me to minister and to write and to communicate with many.
All because of the faithfulness of a beautiful, overworked, underappreciated sometimes-rejected woman who was called by God.
Has rejection caused you to question your call?
Is the dust of that rejection or people’s words or actions caked on your heart and in your thoughts?
Shake the dust. Move on. You have no idea what God can and has done with your faithfulness. But you can embrace His joy and the power of the Holy Spirit and you take the next step. . . wherever that leads.