Passage for Study: Acts 9: 26 – 30 [NKJV] … Linked for study …
Passage for Study: Acts 9: 26 – 30 [The Message] … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Today’s study passage focuses again on the influence which one of the local disciples, Barnabas, had in standing forth as an advocate for this man, the former Saul of Tarsus, who had stricken fear into the band of leaders in the Jerusalem church. And I thought it might be helpful for any who read with me here to study that passage from The Message paraphrase version of Scripture, which does a nice job of bringing out some of the emotions in this scene today.
And in this passage we see Verse 27 beginning with the contrast phrase, “But Barnabas,” which stands in contrast to the statement in verse 26, documenting the fear of the Jerusalem Christians about Paul. “But Barnabas” obviously was not afraid; and he stood in the gap for Paul to the Jerusalem church leaders. And I think it’s interesting to note that Paul, a very strong, assertive personality, obviously submitted to Barnabas’ help; and let Barnabas be his advocate. Paul didn’t let pride stand in the way of forging a relationship with the Christians in Jerusalem. No, he backed off and let Barnabas, who was well known and trusted by the local Christians, take the lead in representing him to those men.
Do you know of a Barnabas type in your church? Maybe it’s you. Do you know that there is a type of spiritual gift called the “gift of encouragement,” [also called the gift of “exhortation” – see Rom. 12: <8/u>] and it’s obvious to me that “Barney,” Paul’s new friend had that gift – bigtime! Do you have it?
Someone with this gift finds it very easy to see someone who needs encouragement or an advocate; and that “son of encouragement” will be willing – and able – to come along side the one in need and give that person the support he/she needs. I hope I don’t seem like I’m bragging; but I have this gift; and without even trying, I often perceive that people who need encouragement come into my life; and I don’t have to work very hard to be there for them, … to give them encouragement, … or to stand for them if they need an advocate.
Maybe you’ve had the help of someone like this in your life. And maybe you’ve been that one for others, giving them a boost of encouragement when they needed you … a kind, but genuine, uplifting word, … a heartfelt hug, … or even an advocacy if they need you for that. Maybe you have been there to stand for someone who needed someone to recommend them for a job or some task. If you have this Barnabas-type gift, I hope you’re using it for God’s glory everyday.
Obviously Barnabas stood up for Paul; and was a “son of encouragement,” just like his name defines him. And I hope you’re using your spiritual gift of exhortation for God’s glory as did Barnabas. But even if you don’t have this spiritual gift, we all can be encouragers. We all can give someone a positive smile when that person seems down. We all can give someone a hug who is depressed. We all can stand up for someone who needs, but can’t find, an advocate. It may not be your #1 spiritual gift; but you can be an encourager today for someone. I hope you’ll keep your eyes out and be a “Barney” for someone if you’re needed today. Pray for God to send you someone to encourage; and then watch for that one who needs you. You may be someone’s “son of encouragement” today.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to be perceptive and sensitive today; and if someone needs a son of encouragement, let me be that one. Amen