Be A Barnabas, Evans Olang

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Acts 11:23, “When he (Barnabas) came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord”

Luke writing the book of Acts introduces Barnabas as a generous man who sold his land to support the growing church. Unlike Paul and Peter, Barnabas had a very unique ministry. I am yet to come across where he ministered alone, performed miracles and the like. You don’t hear much about him, there is no book dedicated to him. He only appears mostly in the book of Acts and then mentioned by Paul and Peter in the other epistles, but Barnabas is special.

Who was Barnabas anyway? First, the name Barnabas means “son of encouragement“. He is not so much on the fore front but one who is always on the side encouraging. I would say that he must have been the one who discipled Paul when Paul was converted, why? Acts 9:27, “But Barnabas took him and brought him (Paul) to the apostles… “. He was the type of an individual who was easy going, forgave easily and saw far beyond what natural eyes could see. If you remember, Saul now known as Paul was persecuting Christians. Even after his conversion, Christians still had a hard time accepting him and Barnabas played a very important role in encouraging brethren to rally around Paul for he was now a brother in the Lord. God had graciously done something in Paul’s life to which I believe the disciples may have prayed earnestly for his salvation. Barnabas became like a leader unto Paul for a while. If you read more in the book of Acts, Luke constantly introduces them as “Barnabas and Paul”, look at the order (Acts 11:30). Barnabas first, then Paul second. Around Acts 13:43, the introduction changes to “Paul and Barnabas” revealing to us that now Paul was mature enough to be a leader and Barnabas as usual became a supporting minister. I love Barnabas, a man of sweet spirit, a very meek individual who knows that his position is important. Yes he is not so much known but his ministry of encouragement was necessarily needed. Paul benefited from it so was John Mark when Paul did not want to take him with him to another mission. Barnabas encouraged Paul to take John Mark but he would not, later you hear Paul calling for John Mark in 2Timothy 4 to come and help him minister. John Mark’s ministry was vital to Paul and may have amended their differences. Barnabas was a patient man, seeing far beyond faults knowing that with time, there will be growth.

Acts 11:23, “When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord“. What a blessing to know that the ministry of encouragements is vastly needed in our lives today. Barnabas went about encouraging believers to continue with Lord. There must have been those who were discouraged, weak, loosing hope but he was there to encourage them. I have seen people who lost hope and direction yet little encouragement awakened the desire to keep standing strong. A little encouragement allowed them to blossom again. When was the last time you were a Barnabas to someone? You might not have a ministry like Paul but don’t forget that there was a Barnabas in the background encouraging him and others around him. You never know how the one you encourage today could turn out to be. Your little encouragement could save someone who was fed up with life and was ready to end it. A little encouragement could save one from making bad decisions. I am already a Barnabas but want to be more, are you a Barnabas? Blessings Ev

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