Acts 15:39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus.
Many people equate being an encourager with weakness. Barnabas was an amazing encourager, yet he was open in his defense of John Mark. He withstood Paul and defended a young minister and a family member despite undeserving circumstances. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “But you’re supposed to be a Christian?” You can be a Christian and still stand firm on your belief in people. In fact, I believe this is the very definition of a Christian! QUESTION: What area of your life do you feel you need to take a stand?
V IS FOR VISION
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
My father promised my wife and me that he would remodel the first home we purchased. When that happened, dad walked into our new home, looked around, picked up a napkin, and started creating a plan. He knew exactly what he was going to do. Our house was over 100 years old, and the walls were out of line, and everything was in pretty bad shape. After about an hour, dad handed me the napkin and said it was time to go to Lowe’s. I looked at the napkin, and it looked like a bunch of delirious doodling. Several months later, our home was complete with oak bookshelves, Roman pillars, a double-sided fireplace, and gorgeous crown molding. Dad was able to see the potential of our house that I was unable to see. Barnabas saw the potential in the church at Antioch. He was willing to relocate and follow God’s voice because he could see things in the Spirit that others could not. QUESTION: What is your vision for building leaders within the church?
W IS FOR WORSHIPPER
John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth.
More is caught than taught. The way that you can encourage worship within your church is to worship. As you worship, others will worship. Worship opens spiritual atmospheres that you can’t even imagine. It was while the church was worshipping in Antioch that God called Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey. QUESTION: What is one spiritual attribute someone would “catch” from you if they spent a lot of time with you?
X IS FOR X-TRA HARD WORKER
1 Cor 9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
Barnabas worked to support his ministry. If I have learned anything over the years, its that ministry is work. Paul tells Timothy, “Do the WORK of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 2:4). Let’s look at W-O-R-K as an acronym:
W.ILLING – Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might(Ecclesiastes 9:10).
O.BEDIENCE – You must submit your life and your ministry locally before God will use you globally! If you do not have submission within your local church, you WILL NOT have submission in someone else’s church.
R.EADY YOURSELF – The apostle Paul told his protégé, Timothy, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season (2 Timothy 2:4).”
K.EEP IN YOUR LANE – Operate in YOUR gift and calling.
Barnabas was not one to be afraid of work. In the life of Barnabas, we see that he was willing, obedient to God’s call, stood continually ready for what was next, and stayed within his gifts and calling. QUESTION: What is one area of your life that you need to be preparing today so you can do the work of God tomorrow?
Y IS FOR YES
Matthew 5:37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
I am a man who has simply responded to the call. God started calling me to go to Bible School after I graduated High School, and I said YES (Admittedly, this initial call was the hardest one for me to respond to). Then God called me to be a youth pastor, and I said YES! God placed an incredible woman, Bobbi Fae, in my life, and I GAVE A RESOUNDING YES! Together we continued to say YES to the call of God by pastoring two churches, becoming Small Group Pastors, moving away from our home to help with a new ministry initiative. My wife has said YES to be a public school missionary as the Superintendent of Covert Public Schools, and I have said YES to full-time evangelism. As we follow the life of Barnabas, we also see that he had a YES in his Spirit to always answer the Lord’s call in his life. QUESTION: What is one thing you need to say YES to right now in your life/ministry?
Z IS FOR ZEALOUS
1 Corinthians 2:2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
Scripture shows that Barnabas’s overriding concerns were the needs of the people and the furtherance of the Gospel. Yet he must have realized that Saul’s skill in debate and Saul’s incredible mind might overshadow his qualities. However, we see no indication of jealousy on Barnabas’s part, only an indication of his desire to promote the name of the Lord Jesus. QUESTION: What area of ministry are you most zealous about?
As we have examined the life of Barnabas, I would like to challenge you with four calls of action. First, Barnabas wanted to encourage people by speaking kind words. He did this in the life of Paul by defending him publicly. Second, Barnabas liked to inspire others by spending time with them. We see him put this into action with John Mark by taking him on Missionary Journeys. Third, he encouraged others by giving. He sold his land and gave the money to the needy. Finally, the best way Barnabas encouraged others was by telling them about Jesus’ love. How can we model the life of Barnabas by speaking Kind words, spending time with others, give and tell people about Jesus?