Pray for a Barnabas, Part II (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers)


Last time we provided several examples of famous people who achieved their dreams, all because someone took an interest in them and offered to lend a hand. Caring facilitators, such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and TBN cofounder Paul Crouch, Sr., follow in the footsteps of the Biblical icon Barnabas, who enabled the Apostle Paul to spread the Good News of redemption through Jesus Christ.

Ranks! Ree-hee-hee-heeeee!

Need a Barnabas? Finding someone who can help — and who’s willing to help — isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s downright difficult, and for some very strange reasons. And yet, no matter how self-sufficient we are, sooner or later we all need a Barnabas: someone to put in a good word, introduce us to the right people, assist us with a project, or just be a good friend.

But where do we dreamers and creators find such a wonderful and giving person, especially 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?

  • People tend to be selfish and self-absorbed. Hence, they’re usually more interested in helping themselves than in aiding someone else. These people may insist they’re too busy — they may even believe it themselves — but the fact of the matter is, people always find time for what’s important … to them. Helping a dreamer reach a goal is usually very low on their priority list. For this reason, the Apostle Paul writes, “Don’t be selfish…. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NLT)
  • Fear, pride, jealousy, insecurity, stubbornness, and self-importance often lead people to willfully ignore and neglect those who could otherwise benefit from their influence and expertise. Sad but true. There are people who have connections, influence, and expertise, as well as the time and opportunity to promote others. However, due to feelings of pride and/or insecurity, they simply will NOT. In fact, depending on how deep these feelings run — and hence, what’s buried deep within their hearts — instead of offering you assistance, these hurting people may actually try to throw a monkey wrench into your plans.

Jonathan Swift once wrote, in his Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Well, in reality, you needn’t be a genius to become the target of someone’s wrath; you only need an exciting dream, and a sense of real purpose and destiny, like the Apostle Paul had.

That’s right. Paul had more than a few “reverse” facilitators, too. He wrote from his prison cell, “I am well aware that some people out there are preaching … because of jealousies and rivalries. Their motives aren’t pure. They’re driven by selfish ambitions and personal agendas, hoping somehow to add to my pain….” (Philippians 1:15 VOICE) Did he allow it to steal his peace and joy? Not at all, because Paul knew that God was on his side. Not to mention, the Apostle had plenty of others who genuinely aided him, including THE Barnabas.

  • He ain’t heavy, he’s my Scooby!

    The world is Barnabas deficient — because WE aren’t doing our part! If we want life to be filled with Barnabas people, we all need to start being Barnabas people. In other words, if we want to make our world a better place, we can start by being better. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV) “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NLT)

The cool thing about being someone else’s Barnabas is that your good deeds will eventually find their way back to you. That’s the way God works. It’s called the Law of Reciprocity.

So, how do we act like Barnabas people?

  • If we have connections or influence that can benefit others, we should by all means use them to help. “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” (Proverbs 3:27 NLT)
  • If you’ve already attained a degree of success, don’t allow your fame, fortune, or prominent position to go to your head. Despite those fanciful tales of self-made men and women, we seriously doubt you got where you are today all by yourself. So show your appreciation to God for sending mentors and facilitators into your life — by being open to any requests for assistance.

  • If you have a platform (a ministry, a program, an audience, a readership) then consider sharing it with those individuals God sends to you. After all, it’s actually God’s platform. He’s just loaning it to you. Never give Him sufficient reason to consider passing it to someone else.
  • Pastors and spiritual leaders, please be facilitators both within and outside your faith communities. We realize you have a vision for the future, but the people you serve often have their own God-given dreams. Don’t expect these believers to use their gifts and talents exclusively to support your ministries and agenda.
  • If you can assist another creator or dreamer financially, then do so. Support new businesses by trying their products and services. Support budding actors, singers, and musicians by attending their performances. Support writers by buying their books … and so forth.
  • Beyond this, we can offer genuine friendship and encouragement. We can earnestly pray for the endeavors of others and also do our part to spread the word about them, their talents, their works, or their products and services.

Please take the time to see what people “are about.” Hear them out. Don’t slam the door before you even give them a chance. And then do what you can to encourage, support, and facilitate them. “Seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family.” (Galatians 6:10 VOICE)

Okay, but how do we dreamers and creators obtain the help of a Barnabas? Join us Thursday for the conclusion of “Pray for a Barnabas.”

Pick up Tom & Wilma’s latest book, Spiritual Boot Camp or Creators & Dreamers


Pray for a Barnabas (Boot Camp for Creators & Dreamers)


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 across the Atlantic 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’ve often 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.

Ford races to find the Cup of Christ, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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: young dreamers often need a golden facilitator to point the way!

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.

Oprah: “You can do it!”

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.)

Sooner or later we all need a Barnabas. No, NOT the creepy Dark Shadows anti-hero. Heavens no!

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.

Barnabas impacted history.

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 next time for the startling answers!

Pick up Tom & Wilma’s latest book, Spiritual Boot Camp or Creators & Dreamers