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.
Have you ever felt like you were spinning your wheels on the road to success? Understand that to achieve certain goals, to fulfill some 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 facilitator a great debt of gratitude.
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. 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? Well, if we want the world 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.
Be someone’s Barnabas. Your good deeds will eventually find their way back to you. “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)