Being a Barnabus
by Dee Dowdy
“When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this proof of God’s favor, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.” Acts 11:22-23
Once there was a young boy named Jimmy who played on a little league baseball team. He loved being on the team and all of his teammates and coaches loved him. But there was a problem. He was lousy playing the game! He could not hit or catch the ball. And, if by chance he was fortunate to get a hit, he could not run fast enough to get to first base before being called out.
His parents came to his games and heard all the ugly comments by the other parents when their son came up to bat. They endured watching their poor little guy striking out or missing an easy catch. It got so bad, that both of them tried to get him to quit his team but he refused.
One day, Jimmy’s dad told the coach that he appreciated him letting Jimmy stay on the team given his inability to really play the game. The coach replied. “What do you mean? Jimmy is one of my most valued players.” The dad said.” I don’t understand! I have worked with my son trying to help him improve but it is clear that baseball is just not his cup of tea. How could he be one of your most valued players?”
The coach said, “I just want you to sit outside the dugout and listen during the game and you will see why.” So the father did just that. During the game he heard his son tell each player who was about to go to bat “Come on, I know you can do it, you are great!” Or if another team mate struck out, Jimmy would say, “That’s okay! You will knock it out of the park next time!” And dad even heard his own son say to another boy who was also not a very good player, “Hey man, don’t get discouraged, at least you are better than me!”
After the game, the coach came over to Jimmy’s dad and asked, “Now, do you know why Jimmy is so valuable to us?” Then he went on to say,” Last year we didn’t win but two games, but this year we are on a what we have done this year without him!”
Jimmy was an encourager as was a man named Joses in the book of Acts. Joses was the one who first brought the Apostle Paul to meet the rest of the apostles after Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus. The others were probably skeptical so Joses encouraged him.
It was Joses who stayed and stood up for John Mark when it was time for Paul and Joses to go on another mission trip but Paul refused to take John Mark along. And, it was Joses who was sent to Antioch to encourage the believers there in their faith.
Even though we are not very familiar with the name Joses from the book of Acts, we are familiar with the name of Barnabas (which means encourager or son of encouragement.) This is the nickname the apostles gave Joses because he was a man who was known for encouraging others.
We need more “Barnabases” today; men and women who can encourage and lift up those who are struggling with the issues of life. Jesus once said that the evil one came to kill, steal and destroy. And one of the ways Satan does that is by trying to beat humanity down, to make us feel hopeless and discouraged. Therefore, let us fight him by being someone that encourages and lifts others up. Let us be a Barnabas!
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