Friday, October 19

Barnabas, Hero-Maker

Scripture: Job 5, Psalm 108, Acts 10-11

Acts 11:25-26 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to search for Saul, and when he found him he brought him to Antioch.  For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers.

Observation

Barnabas first shows up in Acts 4, where he donated the proceeds from a land sale, and we’re told that his name means “Son of Encouragement” (or “Encourager”).  

He shows up next in Acts 9.  When the newly converted Saul arrives in Jerusalem, the Christians are afraid of him.  Barnabas befriended Saul and was his advocate before the leaders so that Saul was accepted.  

He shows up here in Acts 11 as the emissary from the Jerusalem church to check out what God was doing in Antioch among the Gentiles.  He  saw what the Lord was doing, was glad and encouraged everyone to remain true to the Lord.  Then he tracked down Saul (now Paul) in Tarsus and brought him back to Antioch to teach the new believers.  

He shows up in Acts 13 as one of the prophets and teachers in Antioch, who was set aside along with Paul for a missionary journey.  From Acts 13-15, he is Paul’s partner on the first missionary journey.

He shows up for the final time in Acts 15:36-41 as he and Paul prepare for their second missionary journey.  Barnabas wanted to take along John Mark, who had deserted them early in the first journey; Paul refused and they parted ways.  Barnabas and Mark sail off to Cyprus, Barnabas’ home country, and there he disappears from the story.  

Three times we see Barnabas championing other people: twice with Paul and once with Mark.  (Eventually, Paul changed his opinion of John Mark.  In 2 Timothy 4:11, he tells Timothy, “Bring Mark with you, for he is useful to me in the ministry.”)  

Barnabas didn’t need to be the hero of the story; he was content to be a hero maker of others.  He lived up to his name: Encourager.

Application

I want to learn from Barnabas.  I want to be someone who sponsors others, champions others, encourages others.  I want to be a hero maker.  I don’t have to be the hero of the story; I would love to be a hero maker.

Prayer: Lord, use me to encourage others, to sponsor others, to make heroes of others.