Key Passage – Acts 4:36-37
Key Text – Acts 4:36 –Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement),
Some days are hard to get through. But perhaps with a little extra effort and teeth grinding we could survive those days. But it is much harder to get through a rough season of life without the support and encouragement of trusted friends, brothers, sisters and whoever else God may send to us at those times, to help us to get through. A few such people certainly have blessed me in my life and I am so grateful to each one of them.
Today’s passage introduces us to a strategically important person in the New Testament, we very rarely hear about, but God knows how vital he was to the expansion of the gospel and the early church. His name is Barnabas. Actually, his real name is Joseph, a Levite and a native of Cyprus, but the apostles’ nicknamed him Barnabas, which means son of encouragement. As his name goes he was a real God sent encourager. How we need such people today.
The first time we encounter him in the bible, he had just sold a piece of land and given the money to the apostles for the ministry. He was encouraging them with his giving. There are many such people today, who are not even celebrated, because they are silent operators for God. They encourage ministers to do their work by giving of their substance for the purposes of God. Many ministries will collapse without these Barnabas’. But this was not his greatest work.
When Saul got converted miraculously from a persecutor of the church to an apostle, it was Barnabas that first spotted the genuine conversion of Saul of Tarsus and discerned the pivotal role Paul would play in the spreading of the gospel, that he brought Paul and introduced him to the other apostles. Please understand, that everyone in Jerusalem in those days lived in the fear of Saul, so it needed someone as genuine and trustworthy as Barnabas to do this job. If Paul had not had this right hand of fellowship, who knows what would have become of him?
Barnabas went even further and accompanied Paul of his first missionary journey first as Paul’s leader and mentor, then later as his co-minister and then as he sensed Paul’s anointing, calling and grace, he was willing to play second fiddle to Paul. What an amazing man. He helped Paul take-off in ministry, served Paul and strengthened him and at the appropriate time allowed Paul to take the leadership role.
When revival broke out in Antioch, it was also Barnabas the apostles sent to checkout the move and discern its genuineness. When Barnabas got there he saw the grace of God at work and he encouraged and strengthened them. He then went and got Paul from Tarsus (Spain) to help this new move of God. What a man. What and encourager!
We can all learn from Barnabas and help someone else along the way. It could be a gentle word, a pat on the back, a referral, an endorsement or even just a note to say well done. We could also pray for someone who is struggling. These are little acts that can transform people’s lives.
Today, I want to dedicate this piece to all Barnabas’ the world over and pray that God will bless them and multiply the grace of God on their lives. I also want to acknowledge all my Barnabas’ who have helped me along my journey and to also say a big thank-you to all who have been my encouragers with this daily blogs. You know yourselves. God bless you.
Let’s pray – Father today we recognise that you have been at work in our lives through these encouragers, these Barnabas’. Father, please raise up more of these types of people and help me to learn from Barnabas and encourage someone along the journey of life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.