BE LIKE BARNABAS
Daily Bible Reading – Acts 11:1-30
Today’s Scripture Focus – “Some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus. The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.” (Acts 11:20-24)
Devotion – Jackie Robinson was the first person of color to play Major League Baseball, and as a result he was subjected to a lot of racial hatred. Robinson was an outstanding ballplayer, however, and his play, attitude and efforts made it possible for people from different kinds of ethnic backgrounds to have the opportunity to play baseball in the major leagues. However, there was a time when he wondered if he was going to make it.
On one particular day Robinson was having a bad day, making several mistakes in the field and not having a productive day at bat. As a result, the baseball fans in the stadium were making his day even more miserable. They were yelling and screaming racial slurs and demonstrating their obvious displeasure with him. In the midst of that tragic scenario, Pee Wee Reese the All-Star shortstop on Robinson’s team went over and put his arm around him, encouraging him to not allow difficulties or hatred he was experiencing to overcome him.
There are times when we all need to be encouraged like Pee Wee Reese encouraged Jackie Robinson. There are times when we need to be encouraged to “hang in there” and continue moving forward in our lives.
In today’s Scripture passage we find a Christian man named Barnabas being the “Pee Wee Reese” of his day. Barnabas was actually a nickname given to a man named Joseph because he had become such an encouraging and generous Christian in the first century Church (Acts 4:32-37). “Barnabas” means “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement,” and Barnabas had certainly become that even prior to the account that we read in today’s Scripture passage.
In today’s Scripture, Barnabas was sent by the Church leaders to encourage new Gentile believers in Antioch, people who had turned from their pagan ways to become followers of Jesus. Barnabas encouraged them to “stay true to the Lord.” And the Bible says that because of his and others efforts and because of what God’s Spirit was doing, “many people in Antioch were brought to faith in the Lord.” And even after that we find Barnabas encouraging a young man named Saul of Tarsus (Acts 11:25-26), who would later on become the Apostle Paul. God used Barnabas in great ways in his day not because he was a great preacher or teacher, but simply because he was a loving, generous man who was a great encourager to others.
We need more Barnabas’ in the Church and in our world. Jackie Robinson would later say that Pee Wee Reese’s encouragement on his difficult day perhaps saved his career, maybe even his life. Which reminds us that if we take time to be a “Barnabas” encourager to others, we are making a great difference in their lives and in their destiny.
Follow-up Activity – Find 2-3 people today that you can encourage in some way, and do so. And ask the Lord to show you who you can and should be a constant encourager to, like Barnabas was to Saul of Tarsus.
Prayer Guide For Today – Spend some time in prayer
- Adoring the Lord – What attributes of the Lord do I need to praise Him for today?
- Confessing your sins – What sin or struggle do I need to confess to the Lord so I can experience His forgiveness and freedom in my life?
- Thanking the Lord – What blessings or people do I need to thank the Lord for today?
- Seeking God’s help – What specific requests do I have for myself or others today?
One Sentence Prayer for Today – Lord, help me to be a “Barnabas” to others today and in the days ahead, knowing that my encouragement will have a positive impact on people’s lives.
TODAY AT CELEBRATION WE ARE CONTINUING OUR CALLED TO THE CAUSE SERMON SERIES. Invite some people to come with you. Feel free to send your personal Prayer Requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.