|Paul and Barnabas sent - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." Acts 11:24
In the New Testament we have many major characters like Peter, John, and Paul on whom we often focus. But there are also minor ones like Barnabas—a man Luke describes as "a good man full of the Holy Spirit and faith." What qualities of character and action did he have to merit such a description? In our reading today Barnabas lives out five.
We can conclude this because the disciples chose him to check out what was happening in Antioch with the new Greek converts. And when he got to Antioch, he recognized that God was at work there (Acts 11:22,23).
Positive and encouraging.
What he saw when he arrived in Antioch made him glad and he encouraged them all (Acts 11:23).
A worker who served the crowd.
He rolled up his sleeves and pitched in, working beside the original evangelists. His faith and Holy Spirit-empowered life accounted for many more conversions (Acts 11:24).
A worker who focused on one.
He remembered that new convert Saul, the one everyone had earlier feared because of his reputation for persecuting believers. But Barnabas had trusted him and introduced Saul to the fellowship in Jerusalem sometime back (Acts 9:26-30). Now he went to Tarsus to fetch Saul and add him to the Antioch ministry team (Acts 11:25,26).
Honest with money.
When Agabus prophesied a famine for Judea the believers (now called Christians) took up an offering and sent Barnabas and Saul to Judea with it.
I don't know what you picture when you hear that someone is full of the Holy Spirit and faith. A person who performs miracles? A powerful orator? Someone who lives a notch above us everyday plodders?
I love this picture of Barnabas whose life is a demonstration of how ordinary are the qualities the Spirit uses: discernment, a positive encouraging attitude, a work ethic, an awareness of others' strengths and where they could be of use in the church, and reliability and honesty.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the example of Barnabas. Help me not to spurn the lowly character qualities that, when empowered by Your Spirit and faith, can enable us to accomplish much in Your kingdom. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.