The next day [after arriving in Jerusalem,] Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present. After greeting them, Paul gave a detailed account of the things God had accomplished among the Gentiles through his ministry.
— Acts 21:18-19 NLT
All too often, a speaker at a Christian conference is introduced with a litany of things that person has accomplished in her or his life and ministry. I don't know about you, but I have not accomplished anything except through the gifts and opportunities the Lord has graciously provided to me. Have I worked hard? Yes, of course I have. However, many others have worked hard and have not been blessed with the opportunities I have been given. Paul wrote the Corinthians as they were competing to see who was most important:
What do you have that God hasn't given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
So, I love the way Luke has emphasized that God has been working behind the scenes, with the intervention of the Holy Spirit in the lives of God's leaders, to bring about what has happened. On Barnabas and Paul's return from their missionary journey, they reported to the believers "everything God had done through them" (Acts 14:27). Sounds a lot like our passage today! If there is anything exceptional in what God's servants have done, God has opened the door for them to do it. If there is anything praiseworthy in our service to the Kingdom, we should give God the praise and thanks for what is done!
Almighty God, I am astounded that you came to earth as a human being in Jesus and lived among us in mortal flesh. I am also amazed and humbled by your grace at work in us. You have chosen to live in each of your children through the power of the Holy Spirit and work through us to accomplish your will in our world. Father, I join my heart to the words of your apostle Paul when he wrote: