"Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them"....'So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit'.
Barnabas and Saul (Paul) were called by God to preach and teach to both Jews and Gentiles, they were set apart and dedicated for this 'special work'.
These opening verses of the chapter got me thinking about the term 'Missio Dei; 'To participate in mission is to participate in the movement of God’s love toward people, since God is a fountain of sending love' and the fact that we are each called to be dedicated to a 'special work' which God has for us, we can each be a part of 'God's love towards people'.
I think at times it's hard not to compare our calling to others, Barnabas and Saul were 'sent out', they were called to preaching and teaching. Later in the chapter we read that 'the people begged them to speak...again' and that 'the entire city [Antioch] turned out to hear them preach' but that some of the Jewish leaders were 'jealous'. I think at times we can also find ourselves feeling jealous of someone else's calling, gifts or talents but like Barnabas and Saul we are also each uniquely called to the 'special work' that God has for us whether thats preaching and teaching, befriending a neighbour, encouraging others, looking after small children or elderly relatives, being a light in your school or workplace... Just yesterday I bumped into a lady in town who I haven't seen for ages, although it was difficult to chat due to a wriggly small child I felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop and talk and discovered how she was struggling without family and feeling lonely, I knew that part of the 'special work' God has for me is to try and visit this lady and encourage her that someone cares for her.
It's always incredible what opportunities come our way when we wake up each day and 'dedicate' ourselves to God's purposes for our lives; offering our time, gifts and talents.