WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3
When he arrived in Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, since they did not believe he was a disciple. Barnabas, however, took him and brought him to the apostles and explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road and that the Lord had talked to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:26-27 (CSB)
WE ENCOURAGE WITH OUR WORDS
Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship, spent 40 years helping people hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. When he died in April 2012, one newspaper article carried the headline, “Charles Colson, Nixon’s ‘dirty tricks’ man, dies at 80.” It seemed surprising that a man so transformed by faith should be identified with things he did as a politically ruthless presidential aide decades earlier before he knew the Savior.
The apostle Paul’s conversion and his early Christian witness were greeted with skepticism and fear. When he began preaching that Jesus is the Son of God, people said, “Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose?” (Acts 9:21). (Our Daily Bread)
Three years after Saul’s conversion to Paul, the disciples are still terrified of this former Christian murderer. They were afraid he was a spy pretending to be a disciple of Jesus. It is to the credit of Barnabas that he had the insight and the courage to speak up for Saul at the crucial moment in his life when the evidence seemed to be against him. The apostles knew of the integrity of Barnabas and this gave Paul entry to the apostles so that they were now willing to receive him.
Rich Cathers writes: It seems to me that one of the chief characteristics of Barnabas was the ability to see a need and then without needing to be asked, he does something about it. We see this when he sells a piece of property to meet needs in the church. We see it here when Paul needs a helping hand into the church. A Barnabas is a person who has his eye open to needs, and then responds with encouragement.
Ask God to show you who needs your words of encouragement. Ask God to help you recognize needs around you that He wants you to meet.
Thank God for the privilege to join Him in meeting needs.