An Encourager

Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul.
Acts 11:25, NLT*

Gentiles were coming to faith in Antioch, and the leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to visit. He was excited to see what God was doing, and sometime after arriving, he left to get Saul. When they returned to Antioch, they stayed a whole year. Clearly, there was a lot to be done.

Paul had been sent away from Jerusalem for his own safety, because his preaching about Jesus was so powerful it made him a target. Perhaps Barnabas thought bringing him in to speak to Gentiles instead of Jews would be safer?

The New Testament shows Barnabas as an encourager, one who believed in people, saw their abilities, and who spoke up for them when needed. He also brought them alongside to work with him.

He saw an opportunity in Antioch, or perhaps a need, and rather than trying to do it all himself or even just recruit the locals to help, he went for Saul. Did he have to go personally because he thought he’d need to convince Saul?

Sometimes it’s easier to keep slogging by ourselves, especially if we have a certain way we like things done. Barnabas reminds us to be open to God’s leading about partnerships and about encouragement.

God who gives us different gifts and abilities, please help us to discern the abilities in the people around us, and give us willing hearts to involve them in our lives and our work. Help us to affirm in others what You have placed there, for the overall increase of Your Kingdom.

Matt Maher’s song, “Instrument,” affirms our calling to community in serving our Lord.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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