Summary: The real need for encouragement.
Barnabas was THE ENCOURAGER … he was always looking out for the underdog … he always attempted to see the “good” in everyone … he tried to focus on the positives!
How many of you know a Barnabas?
I have had a number of Barnabas’ in my life … but do you know what I have realized over the years … you usually never get more than one REAL Barnabas at a time … have you noticed that?
Of course, there are people that really push you, but then there are others who propel you!
In the early part of my life … my mother was my Barnabas … always propelling me … always encouraging me … she always said, “Todd, you can be anything God wants you to be!”
In my teens I began to cry out for a father figure … but as you know my parents where divorced when I was about 2 years old … so I found my Barnabas in my youth pastor – John Sotero … In fact, I remember one time when he took me to work out with him, and the next day he wrote me a note to tell me how much that meant to him … for the next 9 years he was my Barnabas!
And then in Bible College and my first few months of ministry … It was Dr. Opal Reddin … she kept encouraging me and pushing me to get closer to the Lord … to know Him and make Him known!
Wow … and then things took a nose dive … I found myself in a church where board members would swear at me and get in fist fight with each other … It was then that I meant Pat Hilkey … he was a local pastor who believed in me and encouraged me … without this Barnabas I was about to quit the ministry.
And in my last church … we had pastor problems … board problems … financial problems … you name it we had it. I thought that was it. I endured 4 ½ years of pure hypocrisy in leaders around me, but my brother Scott Bishop became my biggest Barnabas … he was always there … he knew what to say and when to say it. I am not even sure today how much he knows that meant to me … he was a REAL Barnabas in my life!
And now today, I have one of the greatest Barnabas’ in Mary, my awesome wife. She is my biggest source of encouragement ever … she supports my dreams and God’s plans for me … WHY? Because I support her dreams and God’s plans for her! When I leave a youth meeting discouraged … she lifts me up! When I feel like a failure (which there are times when I do) … she reminds me of what God thinks about me!
The truth is that we all need a Barnabas in our life … whether we admit it or not!
Some of us may be thinking: “Me and God – that’s all I need.”
God doesn’t even buy that one … Genesis 2:18 … “It is not good for man to be alone.” Adam had God … but even God realized that we NEED someone in our lives to encourage and motivate us!!!
Barnabas was that person to Saul … you see, reality is this … if Barnabas never stood behind Saul you would probably never had a Paul!
When no one stood behind Saul … there was Barnabas!
When no one believed Saul … Barnabas did!
THE BACKBONE OF BARNABAS was that he was an ENCOURAGER!!!
Most of you would probably identify with this: “Life is sometimes pretty discouraging.”