But, this mission would be different from the previous. Instead of a journey primarily pointed at encouraging Christians (Acts 11:22-23), this mission would be for the express purpose of gathering people to Jesus Christ (Acts 13:1-3).
I want to focus on one of the words that the Lord decided to use in His calling Barnabas and Paul. - "Separate" (Acts 13:2)
While the word literally means exactly what you might be thinking, to "set off by boundary" (Strongs') or to "appoint, set apart for some purpose" (Thayer's). I believe it gives us a picture into something very needed in today's world.
You see, Paul's purpose in being an apostle was actually given by Jesus Christ. Namely, to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).
I'm reminded of a time in small town Alabama when a woman down the street needed some weeds pulled from her front yard and she decided to hire the little boy from down the road to do the work for a minimal fee and give him something to do instead of playing Ding-Dong-Ditch on all of the neighbors. She set him to work and went inside, but only after saying, "I'm trusting you to get this done before lunch. If you do, I'll give you $5!".
A few hours later, the weeds were pulled and the boy had some pocket change. The woman was somewhat taken aback that this young man had actually completed the task given to him without wavering and being distracted. As if promising a boy no older than twelve that he would have enough money to buy candy wouldn't cause him to work as fast as humanly possible.
That woman could depend on that boy from then on and would hire him for small jobs around her house until he would graduate high school. Basically because she knew the work would get done in the way she set forth.
When the Lord told the Antioch Church of Christ to separate Paul and Barnabas it was because He knew they would get the work done in the way He wanted it done, and the Christians agreed (seen by their "laying hands on them" in a sign of approval and trust - Acts 13:3).
Here's the question that we need to internalize, can God depend on me like He could Paul?
Am I trustworthy enough for God Almighty to be able to give me a job and know that it will be completed to the best of my ability?
The simple fact is, He has given us a job to do and He fully expects us to finish the job!
“ Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" - Mark 16:15