Summary: Everyone needs a Barnabas. We all need someone to come along beside us and give us encouragement. This message encourages every Christian to be a Barnabas.
Be A Barnabas
Everyone needs a Barnabas. We all need someone to come along beside us and give us encouragement from time to time. We don’t need someone to come up to us and give us a litany of everything that is wrong with us. We need people to build us up and encourage us.
When I was in my first year of High School my Sunday School teacher was a student at Sterling College in Sterling, Kansas. He encouraged me to accept and live for Christ. He enrolled me in a topical scripture memory plan put out by the Navigators and kept in touch with me. He was a Barnabas to me.
The name “Barnabas” is equated with a people helper and encourager. We see the outstanding Christian characteristics of Barnabas in Acts 9:19b-30.
In the first part of Acts 9 Saul – Pre-Christian name, is confronted by the risen Christ and the glory of Christ’s presence blinds Saul. Saul is on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus to persecute Christ followers. His goal is to find as many Christ followers as possible and drag them off to jail. His encounter with the risen Christ changes his plans and life. His fellow travelers led Saul into Damascus where he stayed for three days and did not eat or drink anything.
In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord spoke to him and told him to go to the house where Saul was staying and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying and in a vision has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.
Ananias doubted the vision. Why should he go help a know Terrorist. It would be like sensing God telling you where Usamar Bin Laden is hiding and that he is praying and blind and you are to go and pray for him. How quick would you be to respond? You can trust a terrorist to be a terrorist.
A second time the Lord spoke and said to Ananias, “Go, I have chosen him to carry my name to the Gentiles.”
Ananias finally obeyed and went to the house and placed his hands on Saul and said: “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized.” (Acts 9:18)
Saul was given spiritual sight and experienced the falling away of blinding pride, prejudice and hatred. His conversion was a turning point in the history of Christianity.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. His preaching upset many Jews and they conspired to kill him so he was lowered over the wall at night and he escaped to Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem he tried to join in with the disciples there but they were afraid of him and wouldn’t believe his story. They wouldn’t believe that he had seen the risen Christ on the way to Damascus or that he was now a Christ follower.
He was shunned by the Jerusalem disciples. Have you ever felt rejected? Shunned? Being rejected is not for the light hearted.
The year was 1947 and the general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey signed up a young man for the team at $600 a month and a bonus of $3,500. The young man was Jackie Robinson. He experienced his share of rejection when he set out to break the color barrier in the all-white domain of major league baseball.
Several team members petitioned against Robinson’s joining the team. As Jackie ran the bases opposing players tried to spike him. He received death threats. In spite of opposition Jackie Robinson won Rookie of the Year and led the Dodgers to the 1947 World Series. Jackie Robinson became the first black athlete introduced into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame.
Branch Rickey was a Barnabas to Jackie Robinson.
You may go through many different experiences when you need a Barnabas type person to give you encouragement especially when you hear some of the following comments:
“Sorry, but we chose someone else for the job.”
“We were hoping for someone a bit …uh, younger.”
“The degree is good, but your leadership skills are lacking.”
“The truth is, you’re not the son or daughter I hoped for.”
Barnabas was an encourager. Barnabas believed Saul’s story. He was convinced that Saul’s story was true. (Acts 9:27) “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.”