Everybody needs a Barnabas in their life.

Paul (formerly Saul) had led the great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, dedicating himself to destroying Christians. Newly converted, he offered to help those he had recently persecuted. Those leaders, in turn, refused to accept him as a brother in the Lord. In fact, they were still hiding from him.

Except for one.

When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. Acts 9:26-27

Barnabas vouched for Paul. He bravely brought Paul in and introduced him to the brothers.

How did Barnabas know he could trust Paul? No doubt he had heard from believers who had suffered under Paul’s persecution.

Focusing on the future

While the other disciples focused on Paul’s past, Barnabas looked beyond to Paul’s future. He saw God’s work in him and how he could be used to accomplish God’s purpose.

Barnabas had a godly reputation, being described as a “good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” (Acts 11:24) He had compassion for the poor, was a man of faith, and was obedient to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. His character displayed a grateful, compassionate and loving heart.

Recently, I have been working day and night getting ready to launch a book. I have learned so much but at the same time, I still know so little regarding this process. Fortunately, I have people in my corner — my Barnabas band — that I can call on. Although they probably want to run and hide when they see me coming, they stick around. I am thankful for their presence in my life.

Transformed by brotherly love

Sometimes opening up to someone new is risky. If we get too close, we run the risk of being hurt or rejected. Barnabas didn’t think like this. He saw the best in the situation and welcomed Paul in. Paul may have been transformed spiritually on the road to Damascus, but he was also transformed by brotherly love. Barnabas played a role in starting Paul’s ministry.

Strong in his faith, Barnabas practiced what he believed. He was a respected leader and engaged in the ministry of the church. Barnabas’ ministry gave Paul an “in” into the disciple circle. Paul’s ministry changed the ancient world.

We need people like Barnabas in our lives. Not only that, but we also need to be a Barnabas to someone else. God has a plan to use us too, I’m sure of it. Let’s be a Barnabas and reach out to someone in need today.

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Philemon 1:7