You can’t help but be encouraged reading of the mighty hand of God working in the early church. I want to be there. I want to feel the energy. I want to watch people passionately preach this message of the Jesus they personally KNEW and ate with and walked long journeys with and learned from.
In community and unity; in the Word and prayer; in a posture of listening and obeying…God is moving!
And among all of these disciples, we meet Barnabas. I’m showing my age, but when I read about Barnabas in particular, my mind goes to the early 90’s Gatorade commercials featuring basketball legend Michael Jordan. Anyone remember these? “I wanna be like Mike!” We see footage of his great basketball moves and charming personality. Kids, teens, and adults all emulating him on the court singing, “if I could be like Mike.” And Gatorade had just the solution to be like Mike!
I wanna be like Barnabas. We met him first in Acts 4. He was called the son of encouragement. He sold his land and laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet for this ministry he was ALL IN for. And then again in Acts 9 after Paul (Saul)’s conversion. Paul goes to Jerusalem and tries to join up with the disciples there who were skeptical for a good reason …he was their chief enemy and persecutor. Barnabas takes Paul and brings him to the apostles, vouching for him and how he had witnessed the Lord working in Paul and teaching in the name of Jesus. I wanna be like Barnabas.
We meet up again with Barnabas in Acts 11. Word is quickly spreading regarding the work going on from the scattered Christians. Of those in Antioch, “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” So they send Barnabas to Antioch. He witnesses the grace of God. His heart is full, and the son of encouragement offers just that to the new Christians to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose….”for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” I wanna be like Barnabas.
Barnabas goes to Tarsus searching for Paul and brings him to Antioch. Together they teach and meet with the bustling new church there for a year. “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.”
I wanna be like Barnabas. Son of Encouragement. Humble and generous. Full of joy and love. Brave. Obedient. A good man. Full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. A vessel to bring a great many people to the Lord.
FYI...here's one of the "I Wanna Be Like MIke" commercials (so the song can get stuck in your head like it is in mine)...
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