Sunday, January 3, 2010

Barnabas - Son of Encouragement - 1

Everyone would seem to be small standing next to the greatness of the Apostle Paul - however through the years there has been one man who has always gotten my attention - Joseph who was also called by the apostles, "Barnabas." Not much - in comparison - is written about him - yet the testimony of his life is one that catches my attention. Why? I am not sure of all the reasons, but as I read the New Testament account of him - there is something that strikes me that says, "I want to be like him." Many men seek for the advancement of their own name, comfort, pleasure and reputation - not so with Barnabas. Instead, his testimony was one lived out to advance the good, care and reputation of others. Admittedly - maybe one of the reasons I am so attracted to study him is because I am by nature, so NOT LIKE Barnabas! Too often I can find my own heart so preoccupied with my desires, my wants, my preferences, etc. and I see my need to be mentored by his example.

So with this said - this begins a series of blog entries I am starting on "Barnabas - Son of Encouragement." I do hope you find it beneficial for your own soul, as I am also praying that the testimony of this great man's story will have a greater impact on my own life and character.

With this said, we begin. The very first time we hear of Barnabas is in Acts 4:

"34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were
owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
35 and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to
each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles
Barnabas (which means son of encouragement) a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." (ESV)

The very first characteristic we can see coming from Barnabas' life was this was a man who was concerned for the poor and to those who had need. He was so concerned that he took what he had and sold it and gave it to the apostles for them to distribute as there was need among the people of God. Barnabas was a man whose orientation was not towards himself nor his worldly goods, but instead towards those who are without. In a word - Barnabas was a man of "mercy." He had compassion in his heart towards his fellowman desiring that they be cared for.

Far too often, we make excuses for not walking in an active orientation towards the practical needs of others. We see how Christ walked in this way as well as there were times when he saw the crowds and the multitudes and being moved with compassion, he healed them and fed them.

There is much more from this first passage that we will address in later posts - but let's use this as a point of encouragement to begin today to look upon others in mercy. May it begin with our family members - may they see us dying to ourselves and giving ourselves up in love, care and mercy for them. May it begin with fellow members of your church, your small group. Begin thinking and praying, "Lord how would you want to work your mercy through me today to one of these precious folks?" May it happen through our ministry to the women and children of Forest Avenue, asking and praying, "Lord how would you want to be glorified through our ministry to them this month?" May we all grow in a Christ-centered, God-glorifying, mercy-drenched, love-motivated care for those around us!


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Matthew said...

Thanks for the encouragement. Take care.

Mark said...

Looking forward to part 2...