The Barnabas Calling

imageWhen he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. (Acts 11:23)

Barnabas, first introduced to us through his selfless charity in Acts 4:36-37, became a close companion and encourager of the Apostle Paul. We know him from this association and their joint ministries, and it is easy to overlook the fact that he was also an encourager of the Church and his brothers and sisters. It was a calling that he fulfilled to the utmost of his being.

This calling remains among us today. It may be lifetime tenure to be an encourager to those with whom you fellowship or it may be a special, more specific call to encourage. Called by God to preach the gospel, you may discover that the Spirit moves you to serve another pastor, to be a Barnabas to his Paul. For a season, you may be called to this support role in which you pray for, encourage, serve, and bear his shield as your way of serving the Lord above and beyond what the congregation is called to do.

Too many pastors are without this Barnabas, going it alone while being attacked from all sides. Many will fail because you or I did not respond to the Spirit’s movement and call to humility. To serve one another in love is our nature. To serve and support the pastor requires another level of selflessness. It cannot be done with the hope of return or in self-aggrandizement, or even in expectation of thanks. It is a calling that requires abiding love, trust in Christ, an expectation of holiness and a willingness to speak when that is absent. Just as one day in the Lord’s house is better than thousands elsewhere, one day called to service is better than a lifetime spent in worldly or personal pursuits.

Grace and peace to you.

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