Oh, To Be Like Barnabas

Oh, To Be Like Barnabas

If someone were to ask who in the Bible you would like to emulate apart from Jesus, what would you say? Maybe you would think of Peter or Paul–dynamic, bold preachers, full of the Holy Spirit. Or you might think of Moses or Gideon, strong leaders whom God chose to deliver His people. As I’ve been reading through the book of Acts, I decided that, if I could pick someone to learn from and be like, it would be Barnabas.

Barnabas’s name means “son of encouragement,” and he lived up to that name. When the other apostles were afraid of the newly reformed Saul, Barnabas saw potential and transformation, and he persuaded the others to give Saul a chance. When Paul got frustrated with John Mark for bailing out on a missions trip, Barnabas felt faith for his nephew and chose Mark as his traveling companion. We have no record of Barnabas’s sermons or epistles if he wrote any, but I expect that his behind-the-scenes work was a tremendous asset to Paul, helping him to be more effective than he would have been without his loyal friend’s encouragement and assistance.

If I could choose a spiritual gift, it would be that of encouragement. I see way too many people who are burdened and weighed down. They need others to come along beside them and encourage them to keep on keeping on.

The other lesson I learn from Barnabas is that one does not have to be at the forefront to be successful. Often, it is those in the background who are really needed. Think about it. A pastor could not do what he does as effectively without sound technicians, someone running power point, and musicians (in some cases). Singers would have a hard time getting bookings without their booking agent, record producer, soundtrack developer, or band.

This is a lesson I have had to learn. I am not behind the scenes because I wouldn’t like the limelight, but I am here because this is where God has me. This is where my talents lie. I am not a conference speaker and author like my brother, I’m not a singer like many I admire, but if I can encourage others to press on and be faithful in the work that God has called them to do, then my living has not been in vain.

I hope you are finding contentment where God has you today. Success in God’s eyes is not measured by how known you are but by whether or not you are faithful to the calling He has placed upon your life.

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Sony Elise

Sony has been an avid southern gospel fan since she first heard The Happy Goodman Family on a cassette in the mid-1980s. She is the co-founder of Family Renewal and the owner of Sony Elise Editing Services.

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  1. Reply August 12, 14:25 #1 Pauline Thompson

    Sony, you are wise beyond your years. Loved your commentary about Barnabas–many people would benefit from possessing the characteristics of Barnabas. Thanks for the post.

    • Reply August 14, 14:58 Sony Elise

      Thank you, Pauline. Having lived over 45 years so far, I hope I know a few things and yet there is always so much to learn. Then there are the things I thought I’d learned years ago that I realize I need to keep growing in. I don’t know how earth-shattering most of my posts are, but I trust God to use them anyway.

  2. Reply August 12, 18:09 #2 Cheryl

    This is such an encouraging post, Sony. Thank you for sharing your heart. It reminded me of something my dear Mom told me as I walked through a very discouraging time. She said, “You don’t have to be seen to be heard.” I have never forgotten her words as I press on where God has placed me. Contentment has to be learned, but if the Apostle Paul was able to learn it in such adverse circumstances, surely we can do the same. God bless you.

    • Reply August 14, 14:59 Sony Elise

      Good insights, Cheryl. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Reply August 30, 20:21 #3 Scotty Searan

    Very encouraging.
    One other thing Barnabas sold his posessipns to follow the Lord so he could be an encourager in the role of an Evangelist.

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