Wednesday, March 5, 2014
“The Barnabas in You”
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It’s Wednesday, March 5, 2014. I’m Robert Hatfield and this program delivers daily thoughts for new Christians. This is THE NEW YOU!
“Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means tson of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and ulaid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37, ESV).
His name has become synonymous with encouragement. In fact, the apostles gave him that name because of the man he was. We’re talking about Barnabas. Yesterday, I asked you to read this passage in Acts and to identify Barnabas’s original name, which is Joseph. Your translation might also say Joses (which is the same).
You know the camel on TV that loves Wednesdays? That’s kind of how I feel about today. I have to suppress the urge to run through the office yelling about hump day.
In all seriousness, Wednesdays are good days for me. As one who teaches two or three classes each Wednesday, I admit that they can be exhausting, but they’re good nonetheless. Here’s why: Wednesdays, at least, for most congregations in the United States, provide a unique opportunity to study the Bible with my brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s special. I like it. Additionally, the encouragement that I receive from my brothers and sisters helps me to get through the rest of the week.
Which brings us back to Barnabas. When I study about Barnabas in the book of Acts, I see a man who was such an awesome encourager that the apostles named in “Son of Encouragement,” (the meaning of “Barnabas). Here’s what made Barnabas so incredible:
First, Barnabas was generous. His brethren had need, and he had plenty. What did he do? He treated his possessions as though they belonged to the Lord (which, by the way, they do!). He sold his own land and gave the money to the apostles to use in the Lord’s work.
Second, Barnabas was knowledgeable. In Acts 11:24, the Bible describes Barnabas as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” In other words, he knew the Book!
Third, He was willing. Barnabas was the guy who saw a need and responded to it in the best way he could. So, when there was a need to travel around the New Testament world establishing churches and encouraging believers, Barnabas was there! He willingly accompanied Paul on some of the missionary journeys, boldly preaching and building up the saints wherever he went.
Fourth, he was optimistic. Personally, this is one of my favorite characteristics of Barnabas. When Paul had just been converted to Christ (you’ve heard about Paul’s past, right?), he tried to associate with the disciples in Jerusalem, but they wouldn’t have him! They were all afraid of him because of the man he used to be. They didn’t believe that he was really a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them that Paul had changed and that he was now a bold preacher of the gospel. Barnabas believed in Paul. He acknowledged that God had forgiven Paul of his past. Barnabas moved on with an eye toward Paul’s future. That’s in Acts 9:26-27. Later, in Acts 15, Barnabas would do the same thing for John Mark.
Don’t you wish you could have met Barnabas?! We’ll meet him one of these days – in heaven. Until then, his memory is preserved in the pages of Scripture. His example is one for us to follow.
Let’s wrap it up: See, part of being the new you involves how you treat your brothers and sisters in Jesus. Are you an encouragement to them in the way that they are to you? I believe God wants you to know about Barnabas so that there can be a Barnabas in you. Likewise, God wants there to be a Barnabas in me. Let’s get involved in the work of the church. Let’s be ready to do any job, and present to help whenever we are needed. And, whenever the saints assemble for Bible study or for worship, let’s be there. In fact, let’s not only be there, but let’s be present (you know, there’s a difference). Let’s participate and let’s grow together. That’s going to be an encourage your brethren, and it’s going to prepare you for more effective service in the future.
Memory Verse: How’s it going with this week’s memory verse? Say it with me:
Psalm 119:11: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” (Repeat once)
Sometime today I wish you’d head over to Galatians 2:20 and meditate on it. Read it and reread it, and, as you do, think about this question: how was Paul dead, yet alive? We’ll study it together tomorrow.
Thanks for joining today me on The New You. Archives of this program and more Christian podcasts can be found online at thelightnetwork.tv.
Remember Q & A Saturday! Send in your questions now to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 903-265-4448.
I’ll meet you tomorrow for another edition of The New You.
You’re a valuable asset to God’s family. God has work for you to do while you’re here, and that includes fellowshipping with and encouraging your brethren. They’ll appreciate you for it, and you’ll grow a lot by doing it. See you tomorrow!