ENCOURAGING YOURSELF OUT OF A JOB

“Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for [Paul].” –Acts 11:25

Whenever a lowly underdog needed an advocate, the apostle Barnabas stepped forward. Barnabas was a champion for those who needed a second chance. Barnabas took Paul under his protection when Paul risked his life to return to Jerusalem (see Acts 9:27). Barnabas introduced Paul to the apostles and spoke glowingly on Paul’s behalf. Without Barnabas’ intervention, those in Jerusalem would have “refused to believe that [Paul] was a disciple” at all (Acts 9:26), given Paul’s background of zealously persecuting disciples of Jesus. When the church in Antioch needed encouragement and instruction, Barnabas brought in Paul to provide it (Acts 11:25ff). Barnabas brought financial relief to Christians in Jerusalem who were suffering the effects of a famine (Acts 11:30).

When Barnabas was chosen as the leader of the first evangelical mission (Acts 13:2), he took along his young cousin Mark (Col 4:10). Barnabas’ encouragement of Paul bore fruit as Paul stepped out and proclaimed God’s Word in great power. Soon Barnabas lost his leadership job as Paul ascended to the top spot in the mission because of his powerful preaching.

When the pressure increased, Mark left the missionary team. Barnabas later took Mark under his wing when Paul refused to take Mark back (Acts 15:37). But Barnabas’ advocacy for Mark meant the loss of his own job on the missionary team. At this point, Barnabas disappears from the pages of the Acts of the Apostles. Yet Barnabas’ humble, selfless encouragement bore fruit again. Mark became a strong evangelist, even writing a Gospel. Barnabas decreased, but his proteges increased greatly (Jn 3:30).

PRAYER: Father, may I raise up disciples for Jesus as did Barnabas.
PROMISE: “The gift you have received, give as a gift.” —Mt 10:8
PRAISE: St. Barnabas’ great faith bore great fruit. He dedicated himself to following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, despite not knowing the end result beforehand.

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