Have you ever met someone who was so easy to love? At your very first meeting you just immediately knew there was something different. I think Barnabas was that kind of person.
Barnabas was the right man in the right place at the right time. In the transitional period of time for early Christians it was a difficult time period for some. Gentiles were being brought to the Lord, which necessitated great adjustments on the part of Jewish Christians. Men with cool heads, conciliatory dispositions, who were peace makers were needed. The Jerusalem church recognized Barnabas as the ideal man for this time (Acts 11:19-20). Further, the Holy Spirit recognized Barnabas was the ideal man for this time (Acts 13:2,3).
One thing that made Barnabas so ideal for the job was his ability to gain acceptance among both Jews and Gentiles. Two occasions demonstrate this: The events of the famine throughout the world (Acts 11:27-30), and the controversy over circumcision (Acts 15:1-2). Further, the church in Antioch, made up mostly of Gentiles, had great confidence in Barnabas. What a great asset to have such a man who could work with two widely divergent classes of people.
Another reason Barnabas was so important during this time period was his ability to exhort. Our first introduction to him demonstrates his ability as an exhorter. In fact, he is given the name Barnabas because it means, “Son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36-37). He was a man who was persuasive. He had the ability to move people to do what was right. He had a genuine concern Barnabas stood up for him. Risky! Barnabas knew Saul had changed. Then, when the work in Antioch needed help Barnabas called for Saul to come help. Saul’s destiny as an effective apostle is tied to Barnabas’ ability to help him over the rough places.
Again, Barnabas was the right man in the right place in spite of his weaknesses (Gal.2:11-13). Men of great faith are great, not because they are perfect, but because they are able to overcome their imperfections through faith in Christ. The very disposition that made him great in many areas left him vulnerable in other areas. His disposition to believe in people may have left him open to be influenced by Peter. We should not be surprised the very thing that makes a person strong also makes them weak.
Who is the Barnabas in your life? Who is the one who helps you in your weaker moments? Who will stand up for you when you are right and everyone else thinks you are wrong? We are debtors to them. That debt can only be paid by being a Barnabas for someone who needs help. All around us are men and women, boys and girls, people who hurt and people lost who need a Barnabas. We ask not who will help me, but who can I help? Barnabas is needed in every age. Rickie Jenkins
Lord, speak to me that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As, thou has sought, so let me seek
Thine erring child, lost and lone.
O strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the rock and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers, with the troubled sea.
O teach me Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
O fill me with Thy fullness, Lord,
Until my heart o’er flows
In kindling thought and glowing word
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.
Quote by Francis R. Havergal