James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.
The right hand is important in fellowship. Even left-handed people shake hands with their right hand. The right side is considered the side of importance and power. Consider the saying, “He’s my right-hand man.” It is a position of trust.
Here Paul and Barnabas were given the right hand of fellowship – they were accepted as fellow ministers and believers in the body of Christ. This was important, because before his salvation, Paul had a reputation as being a deadly enemy of the church.
How were the early believers able to trust him enough to embrace Paul into their spiritual family? The answer is in this verse. It happened when they recognized the grace given to him. They were able to see that he had a calling from God to bring the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles.
So often Christians find themselves unfulfilled. This shouldn’t be the case. We all have a calling from the Father. Sometimes we blame God and say that He hasn’t spoken to us about our calling. I think that in many cases it is more a problem of inactivity. The verse above says that they recognized the grace that Paul was given to minister to Gentiles. If he had never done anything, there would not have been any recognizing.
Today, don’t just go to church. Make it your goal to be the church. Do something for the Lord. Allow His Spirit and His grace to work through you. Who knows, maybe you or others will recognize a gift of God’s grace in you. Then you can be fulfilled as you pass on the blessing of God to others.