Chair Time Reflections - December 31, 2018
Barnabas, The Encourager
Posted by: Stephanie Smith
Focus Verse: Acts 11:25 "So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul."
Barnabas is the kind of guy you want in your lifegroup. He’s the quintessential team player - leading, following, partnering with, and connecting people every step of the way. He’s a big picture guy, yet he's in tune with all the small pieces (like someone who’s good at a puzzle). He looks, he listens, and he loves others well. Barnabas, as defined by his name, is an encourager.
Upon Barnabas’s arrival in Antioch he found that Jesus was boldly being preached, many were turning to the Lord, and the grace of God was present (Acts 11: 20-23). For these discoveries he was glad, and he exhorted the new believers to remain faithful to the Lord and steadfast for the cause. With things looking as good as there were in Antioch, Barnabas might have returned to Jerusalem, or set his sights on another city. But instead, "Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul" (Acts 11:25). How very strange! Why go for Saul who had once so vehemently worked against the cause of Christ (Acts 8:3)? Why go for Saul whose words now spoken for the cause of Christ literally sent him running for his life (Acts 9:29-30)? Why on earth go for Saul when things seemed like they were in such good order in Antioch? Maybe it was because Barnabas was looking at the big picture, listening for and doing what the Holy Spirit prompted him to do, and putting his love for others into action.
Once back in Antioch with brother Saul at his side, "they met with the church and taught a great many people" (Acts 11:26). Barnabas must have seen something in Saul that he knew the believers in Antioch needed. And perhaps he also saw something in the people of Antioch that he knew Saul needed. For a whole year they met with (discipled) the people of Antioch, and it was there that the disciples were first called Christians. Praise be! Barnabas, partnering with Saul, was bringing the gospel to life for the people of Antioch. Furthermore, as Barnabas partnered with Saul, he was the setting up the puzzle board for the ministry of the world's best known evangelist to explode. Barnabas the encourager - he looked, he listened, and he loved others well - and because of it the gospel went viral. May we go and do the same.
Scripture Meditations for this week: