26 When Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to meet with the believers, but they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer! 27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.
28 So Saul stayed with the apostles and went all around Jerusalem with them, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.
Up until Acts 9 Saul was an enemy of people who followed Jesus Christ. He took part in beatings and even murders because he saw believers in Jesus as a direct insult to Almighty God and the way of life he was groomed for and perpetuated. See, Saul was a rising star in organized religion, a brilliant man who studied under one of the greats, Gamaliel.
As Saul was traveling to Damascus Jesus Christ personally interrupted his day and frankly his life. This encounter brought a dramatic change in Saul, where he did a “180.” Instead of attacking those who followed Jesus, he joined them. But there was a problem. Most people didn’t believe he had a change of heart. They thought he was posing as a follower of Jesus only to trap and possibly kill them.
So, God brought along a man known as Barnabas to help Saul. Barnabas spoke up for Saul and took him by his side and introduced him to those who wanted to reject him. Barnabas was saying, “I can vouch for this man, I trust him and you can too.” And that’s exactly what happened. On Barnabas’ word the others trusted Saul and included him in their circle of friendship and ministry.
I think it’s interesting that the name Barnabas means encourager. We all need a Barnabas or two in our lives to encourage us, don’t we? To have the support, to have someone “in our corner” to speak up for us. I’m sure Saul never forgot what Barnabas had done for him. Frankly, encouragement goes a long way.
Think of a time when you received genuine encouragement. It meant a lot to you then and it still does. I can see your heads nodding “yes” and the smiles on your faces. Encouragement matters.
From a simple gesture like holding a door open for others, or a kind “hello” with a smile, to a friend who stands with you like a modern-day Barnabas when you feel alone.
Since I began working with Newby Management as the new Corporate Chaplain on July 5th, I have received nothing but encouragement and a welcoming spirit from the team in the corporate office and in the communities we serve. It’s amazing to be part of a team that embodies the value of service, not only towards the owners and residents but toward one another as well.
I thank you all for being a Barnabas to me for a number of reasons, not the least of which, it inspires me to be a Barnabas along side each of you.