Sometimes talent and enthusiasm aren’t enough. Sometimes what you know or what you can accomplish aren’t as important as who you know. This is a sad but true fact of life. Just check your history books. Christopher Columbus had an incredible dream and the chutzpah to chase it all the way to “The New World”; but until he received the support and financial backing of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, Captain Columbus was going nowhere fast.
We previously discussed the deep human need for meaningful relationships. Having friends, family, and associates who encourage and support you in the pursuit of your dreams can mean the difference between success and failure; but unfortunately, there are times when even this is not enough.
Creators and dreamers often need capable and influential people who can help open doors of opportunity; people who are willing to assist, facilitate, and promote others. As we stated earlier, many of us will find it nearly impossible to succeed without a helping hand. Truth is, practically no one ever makes it ALONE.
Harrison Ford might still be a carpenter, if not for some savvy Hollywood producers who saw his potential and offered him a shot at stardom. Today the veteran actor is famous for portraying three iconic characters: archeologist and lost ark discoverer Indiana Jones; good-hearted space rogue Han Solo; and Tom Clancy’s patriotic CIA operative, Jack Ryan.
Popular Christian recording artist Ricardo Sanchez (who cowrote the classic “Moving Forward”) might be unknown today, if not for the support and encouragement he received from Pastor Jentezen Franklin. The same can be said of Bishop T. D. Jakes, who struggled for years in obscurity until TBN cofounder Paul Crouch, Sr. chanced upon a local broadcast featuring the minister — and then went out of his way to find and promote the man.
Star Wars creator George Lucas got a helping hand from director Francis Ford Coppola; and Francis Ford Coppola got a hand from director Roger Corman. In fact, Corman, the king of low-budget “B” movies, either discovered, promoted, or facilitated dozens of future creators and dreamers, including director Ron Howard and actor Jack Nicholson.
Author Dr. Phil can thank Oprah Winfrey; and Oprah can thank producer Steven Spielberg. But if you prefer a more exciting example, Captain John Smith can thank the young Native American princess Pocahontas — for saving his red-bearded head from the chopping block! Thank God for understanding people who are willing to help others realize their dreams. Even Jesus Christ had a band of believers who helped Him with the legwork of His ministry on earth.
Could you use a similar boost? Have you ever felt like you were spinning your wheels on the road to success? Well, to achieve tough goals, to fulfill huge dreams, you may need a little help from someone with specialized skills, experience, connections, or capital. A “friend” who’s willing to lend a helping hand, give some guidance, introduce you to the right people. You may need an agent, a mentor, a facilitator, a collaborator. You may need a Barnabas.
What’s a Barnabas? A person who’s willing to help another complete their “mission” in life. Someone who can open the right door for you, point you in the right direction, and get you started on your way. In the Book of Acts, there was a man named Barnabas who did this for the Apostle Paul, and the Gentile Church owes this Jewish facilitator a great debt of gratitude. (Allow us to point out that the faith we Christians celebrate today had Jewish roots. In fact, Christianity started out as a Jewish sect.)
The Apostle Paul had a dream and a mission: to begin spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world — namely, the Gentiles. And Paul was the best person for the job. He had the knowledge, the experience and the wisdom — and the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul had “the right stuff,” but not the right connections.
Actually, Paul had no connections, and no friends among the Jewish followers of Christ (or Yeshua). What Paul did have was an extremely bad reputation. Seems that before believing in Christ, the Apostle Formerly Known as Saul had a track record of persecuting his Jewish brethren, and he’d been responsible for the deaths of many of them. Paul had changed, but in the eyes of Jewish believers, he was an unknown quantity, a liability, perhaps even a risk.
Despite his passion and his qualifications, Paul wasn’t going anywhere as far as the Jewish leadership were concerned. “When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer!” (Acts 9:26 NLT) That’s when Barnabas, the quintessential facilitator and all-around nice guy, stepped forward.
“Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.” (Acts 9:26-27 NLT) Not only did Barnabas vouch for Paul, but he also joined the apostle on his mission. Barnabas helped Paul to achieve his objective and to fulfill his dream.
Sooner or later we all need a little help. Sooner or later we all need a Barnabas. We need for someone to put in a good word, help us with a project, or just be a good friend. No matter how self-sufficient we are, we can accomplish even more with a little help from our friends. Okay, so where do we find a Barnabas in a society filled with people who only look out for themselves? For that matter, why aren’t there more Barnabas people in the world?
Join us on Friday (4/7/17) for the startling answers, in “Pray for a Barnabas, Part II.”