By John Grant, Week Nine, 2020
“When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts: 11:23).
He was born on the island of Cyprus and his name was Joseph and he was later named Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.”. He moved to Jerusalem and became well-educated and relatively wealthy. He became a leading Christian. After traveling on missionary journeys with the Apostle Paul, he returned to Cyprus and formed the orthodox church before being martyred.
I recently stood by his grave on the Island of Cyprus and could only think that while he was never a person of notoriety, his fingerprints are all over the Book of Acts. He was the constant companion, the constant helper. When Paul dismissed John Mark after a disappointing missionary journey, it was Barnabas who persuaded Paul to give him a second chance and he did. Without that encouragement, we might not have even gotten the first Gospel written, the Gospel of Mark.
A reporter once asked the celebrated orchestra conductor Leonard Bernstein what is the most difficult instrument to play. Given Bernstein’s experience, and expertise, the reporter was eager to hear the great conductor’s valued opinion. To the reporter’s surprise, Leonard Bernstein replied without any hesitation whatever: “Second fiddle! I can always get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn, or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second part, we have no harmony.”
Barnabas was a man content to play second fiddle, always the helper, not the leader, but the faithful follower. He was the messenger, the follower, the servant. He supported Paul financially. He was a generous giver and a faithful friend, a committed encourager and a forgiving brother. He was a model of character and integrity.
The world needs more people like Barnabas. He never wrote a book of the Bible, but he made many of them possible. Never trying to be the leader, he was the consummate follower.
We believe what we tell ourselves about ourselves, and if we are influenced by negative people, we will have a negative self-image. If we believe the encourager, we will have a positive self-image. That is why every person is truly blessed if they have a Barnabas in their lives, for Barnabas was an encourager. He always saw the good side of people. He saw past their failures to their potential for good.
It is amazing we do not know Barnabas better, for he is one of the most influential men in the New Testament. He played a major role in the early history of the church, and a major role in the lives of the men who wrote the New Testament. Yet he seems to be an obscure person because we do no know very much about him. Barnabas encouraged these men to be all they could be for the cause of spreading the Gospel.
Who will you be a Barnabas to today? Who will you encourage today?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
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WORDS OF SPIRITUAL WISDOM FROM PASTOR KEN WHITTEN:
▪ Discipleship Is Not Just a Church Word, It’s God’s Word.
▪ One of the Ways You Know You Are Living Out God’s Plan Is You’re Investing in Others, Not Yourself.
▪ Apostleship Is not a Vocation, It’s a Conviction.
▪ Hardship in the Christian Life Is Not an Exception for Followers of Christ, It’s an Expectation for Those Who Do.
▪ Are You Risking Anything for Jesus That Might Cost You?
▪ Sometimes God Does Call Us to Dark Places.
▪ Don’t Change the Bible to Accommodate the Listener.
▪ Remember God Is With You When You Are Discouraged.
▪ Just Be Faithful, Give Yourself to the Gospel.
▪ The Sweetest Time in Your Life Can Come After the Darkest Time in Your Life
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Americans are dying of heart disease and strokes at a rising rate in middle age. Normally that period is considered the prime of life. But an analysis of mortality statistics by the WSJ shows the problem is geographically widespread. Death rates from cardiovascular disease among people between the ages of 45 and 64 are rising in cities all across the U.S., including in some of the most unlikely places. The findings suggest that the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease are universal and difficult to address.
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CHOCOLATE IS GOD’S APOLOGY FOR BROCCOLI
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Worldwide Leading Cause of Death in 2019: Abortion
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Grace is the fact that God knows every stupid mistake I’ll make in the ministry and yet he has chosen me anyway…that’s what grace is! Rick Warren.
Life in the Spirit is about letting go. Max Wilkins
Dwight Moody was once asked why he urged Christians to be filled constantly by the Holy Spirit. “Well,” he said, “I need a continual infilling because I leak.”
Harboring bitterness against someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. George Acevedo
It is impossible to praise or thank Jesus too much.
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. —1 Thessalonians 5:18