Ever hear about Vitamin B12 shots?
Usually they are prescribed for people who have pernicious anemia – a condition that causes, among other things, fatigue, depression, shortness of breath. Vitamin B12 is crucial to the proper functioning of the body.
Well, today I'm talking about a shot of another sort – a shot of Barnabas.
First of all, who was this Barnabas character?
He is first mentioned in a sort of *throwaway* verse in the book of Acts as a member of the early church:
"For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles." (Acts 4:36-37)
Ah, but let us not fool ourselves.
Barnabas was not a background character. God had a prominent role for Barnabas to play.
Later in Acts, we see him willing to risk his life to meet with the newly-converted Paul, and then to convince others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus. (I would love to have been privy to that conversation. "Uh, guys, remember that Saul guy? Well, um, you see, he's met Jesus and...")
What might have happened to Paul without Barnabas?
It was Barnabas who accompanied Paul on his missionary trips. It was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with them. And, when disagreement rose up between Paul and Mark, Barnabas left with Mark on a separate journey. His patient encouragement was a huge factor in the effectiveness of Mark's eventual ministry.
What might have happened to Mark without Barnabas?
One can only speculate how many other people were affected by the "Son of Encouragement" – the one who became one of the most quietly influential people in the early days of Christianity.
Here's a hint:
"When [Barnabas] arrived and saw evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:23-24)
Our pastor talked about Barnabas a few weeks back. And these were the qualities he emphasized:
- Had radical attitudes and desires – bold
- Courageously believed people into being – accepting, loving, and
- Believed the best in people – seeing what they could be
- Invested his time in people – a humble servant
- Fearlessly committed to change the world – spoke truth and grace
- Graciously gave second chances – patient and enduring
Would this describe you? Does this describe me?
I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago, from my oldest son, shortly after this message. He was working through some *stuff* – and this is what he said to me…
"Hey Mom. Can we talk? I need a shot of Barnabas."
And hence, this blog post. My son needed a boost, a good word, a bold statement of hope. He needed a confident word of faith. He needed an injection of Holy Spirit encouragement.
He needed a little shot of Barnabas into his life.
Don't we all at some time or another need that?
I know I do.
And I have been encouraged by many "Barnabases" – (or should that be "Barnabi"??) – along the way. People who have truly en-couraged me – (I blogged about that here). People who gave me back my *fighting sword* – people who wiped the mud off my face – people who lovingly refused to let me give up.
I thank the Lord for all of them (you know who you are) – and for those moments when I was given a shot of Barnabas.
But I am also honored when God uses me as a Barnabas in the life of someone else.
Being an encourager is so much more than just being nice and saying a kind word. It is helping a person re-connect their spirit to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is literally performing spiritual CPR on a flagging heart. It is actively seeking to uphold other believers, and spurring them on to a dauntless and single-minded pursuit of God. It is urging the Body of Christ to re-dedicate and re-focus themselves on the Great Commission to tell others about Him.
Being an encourager is being bold.
It is giving shots of Barnabas-12 – crucial to the proper functioning of the Body.
It can be the antidote for spiritual fatigue, depression of the heart, and shortness of reviving breath.
It is infusing someone with the Blood of the Lamb.
Trust me, it will cure many an anemic soul!
Who has been a Barnabas to you? And to whom is God calling you to be a Barnabas?
(I am linked with Joan, a true Barnabas, at her GRACE CAFE)
(And please join me at "Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday" hosted by Michelle)
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"