Monday, August 6, 2012

Where are the Barnabases?

Acts 9:26-28  After Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples. But everyone was afraid of him. They wouldn't believe that he was a disciple.  (27)  Then Barnabas took an interest in Saul and brought him to the apostles. Barnabas told the apostles how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had spoken to him. Barnabas also told them how boldly Saul had spoken about the one named Jesus in the city of Damascus.  (28)  Then Saul went throughout Jerusalem with the disciples. He spoke boldly with the power and authority of the Lord.

Paul had been converted and started to preach Jesus to the people in Damascus. He started seeing people come to the knowledge of Christ and many became his pupils. The local Jews, who hated the message, tried to kill Paul. Paul was warned and his disciples helped him escape Damascus by lowering him down the side of the wall. Paul came to Jerusalem to join the apostles there, but they would not let him. They feared he was just another Pharisee spy pretending to be a convert in order to get into their camp. Barnabas took an interest or he saw the gift of God in him. Barnabas took Paul before the Apostolic committees and declared Paul's true conversion. Barnabas became Paul's mentor and surrogate in the ministry.


Where are the men and women of God today who have the same passion and insight that Barnabas had? If it was not for Barnabas, Paul would have never reached the world like he did. Paul would have never preached the gospel to the Emperor of Rome. Barnabas helped Paul reach the ministry goals God had called him too.  We need men and women like that today.

I get frustrated at times. All my Christian life I have been under the command of selfish ministers who could only see the benefit of their own ministry than to help others in theirs. They forget that the work of the Lord is the Lord's not theirs. They would want me to follow them only to make their ministry better instead of training a young leader for his future assignment. I have been harassed, put down, made fun of, and many other horrible things.  Today two of those leaders ended up cheating on their spouses and loosing everything.  The other leader is still pastoring HIS church, ( Emphasis for a reason.) but at what price? I will not judge.

When I started into the ministry of sorts, I told myself I would not be like these terrible men. I am grateful for their actions because it has made me a better man. God has allowed me to focus on helping others achieve their goals and callings even if it meant my personal calling was put on hold. I tried training them. I tried encouraging them. I tried helping them in their walk. Most of the time it was done without any credit to myself. That is not the point anyway correct?  Barnabas did not care about personal advancement. He cared more for the advancement of God's kingdom, and he knew that Paul played a role. I might never get any credit for those I have mentored in the past, present, and future but who cares. We must care more about the kingdom of God than our own personal empires or ministries. Barnabas cared more for Paul than he did himself. Paul learned from  his mentor's actions and poured them into others like Timothy and Titus.

God is calling, those who are older in the faith, to be a Barnabas to someone or someones. It is time we rise up and put aside our selfish ambitions. There are some future Pauls, Timothys, and Tituses out there who need rock solid men and women of God to mentor them in the faith. I did want to add that God had put two great men in my life ( We have moved on to separate ways today not due to correction just Holy Spirit leading.) who saw something in me. They did not have big ministries themselves and in most cases they were looked over too. However, God used them to make a difference in my life. ( My Youth pastor Ron Bolin and past mentor Glenn Barry) I am forever grateful to these great men. These two are the true Barnabases of the day.

So what can you do to become a Barnabas to a Paul?

1. Don't be so self-absorbed. 
2. Be open to the spirit. ( Like Samuel was led to David. Be led to the ones you are called to mentor.)
3. Look beyond the lump of clay. ( Sometimes the mentee looks like a lump of clay, and you wonder if they could ever become more. You have to see through the eyes of Christ not of men. )
4. Be willing to sacrifice your time.
5. Be willing to not always get noticed. ( Not everyone gets a Mr. Holland's Opus moment. Sometimes the actions you have done for others goes unnoticed, but that is ok. God sees all and never forgets.)
6. Keep your eye on the Kingdom. ( The Kingdom of God is all that matters. This is for HIM and only HIM. He is the reason why we spread His truth to the world.)
7.  Don't take up ownership ( The mentee and the ministry does not belong to you. It all belongs to the Lord. It is HIS!!!!!. Don't never forget this truth.)

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