Sami Johnson, Jacksonville, NC

Warm-up Questions

Name a way that God blessed you this past week.

We’ll See

If you have a preschool aged child in your household, then it’s likely you’ve watched the recently-released episode of Bluey called “The Sign.” In the first week of its release, it was viewed 10.4 million times! Without giving too much away, the episode begins with all of the children in Bluey’s class hearing their teacher, Calypso, read a Taoist parable called “The Farmer.”

In this parable, a series of events happen to the Farmer. While the farmer’s neighbors comment on everything that happens by saying how lucky or unlucky he is, the farmer replies with only, “We’ll see.”

Most of us are like the neighbors in the parable. On the one hand, when good things happen to us, we are happy and we tend to accept them without questioning them. On the other hand, when bad things happen to us, we get angry, frustrated, or sad and we try to figure out why this thing happened. Was it our fault or someone else’s fault? We try to figure out how to make it better.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you agree that people question things more when things go badly than when things go the way they hope?
  • What impact does the way we perceive the good and bad things that happen to us have on how we think God works in the world?


In our reading today, it seems that Matthias won the divine election as the 12th apostle. It appears that God looked on his heart (Acts 1:24) and saw that Matthias was the chosen one. I imagine he was happy about how that turned out.

But what about Barnabas. How did he feel about how things went? Was he disappointed? Jealous? Did he question his worth? Or did he handle it more like the farmer? It’s impossible to know, but we can wonder.

Being passed over for something can be hard to cope with. Whether it’s a job, a part in the musical, a college application, or a spot on the team, being passed over feels like the end of something once hoped for. We might take some time to grieve that loss before finding a way to move on.

Did Barnabas have to take some time to cope with his disappointment? Did Barnabas confide in one of the other disciples about how he felt? Did he stay with the disciples or did he walk away, seeing his gifts weren’t needed?

While there’s no way to know how Barnabas felt, we do have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story. In Acts 15:22-39 we learn that Barnabas had a key role with Paul in sharing with the people of Antioch the good news that all are welcome in Christ’s church. While he was not chosen by lot to replace Judas as the 12thapostle, his gifts were needed for this vital work for the sake of the world.

Discussion Questions

  • How does looking back impact how we see God’s blessings in our lives?
  • How can the benefit of knowing the story of God’s faithfulness in the past impact how we deal with disappointment and loss in the future?
  • How can you be faithful to Jesus’s call to follow him right now, where you are?


  1. Think of a story in your life that you’ve viewed as a loss or disappointment and rewrite it from God’s perspective, considering the good that might have come from it, or the good that you hope might come from it in the future.
  2. Check in on someone you know who has experienced a recent loss or disappointment and tell them you are thinking about them and that you’re praying for them.
  3. Make “thinking of you” cards for the grief group in your congregation or for someone you know who has lost someone in the last year.

Closing Prayer

O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord: Amen.

(This prayer, “The Call of Abraham,” was written by Eric Milner-White and published in 1941.)