Barnabas We Need You Too!
©2000 by Arlo E. Moehlenpah

 

The first mention of Barnabas occurs in Acts 4. The believers were in one heart and mind. Needs were met because believers shared their resources. From time to time people who owned houses or land sold them and brought the money to the apostles who distributed to those in need. One man in particular, Joseph a Levite from Cyprus, sold some land and brought the money to the apostles. The apostles called Joseph "Barnabas" which means ‘Son of Encouragement" NKJV.

The next mention of Barnabas occurs in Acts 9. After Saul of Tarsus was converted he began preaching Jesus in the synagogues. When the Jews at Damascus conspired to kill him the disciples there saved his life by lowering him over the city wall in a basket. After reaching Jerusalem Saul tried to join the disciples but they were afraid of him not believing that he really was a disciple. Fortunately Barnabas was there and took him to the apostles and told them of Saul’s conversion and how that in Damascus he had boldly preached in the name of Jesus. It was Barnabas who got Saul introduced to the officials (heads) of the church.

Acts 11 records where those who scattered because of the persecution of Stephen traveled to Antioch and preached and many believed. When the news of this revival reached the Jerusalem church they sent Barnabas to Antioch. Many good qualities regarding Barnabas are mentioned here. When he saw evidence of the grace of God he was glad and encouraged them rather than put a damper on a new kind of church where Jews and Greeks worshipped together. Also he was a good man full of the Holy Ghost and of faith and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. It is also very interesting that Barnabas left Antioch and went to Tarsus to find Saul in order to bring Saul to Antioch. For a whole year Barnabas and Saul taught the church of Antioch. It was Barnabas who gave Saul his first opportunity to start his ministry. Why would Barnabas share his successful ministry at Antioch with one who was destined to have a far greater ministry? I think Barnabas realized it is the kingdom of God and not the kingdom of Barnabas.

Barnabas not only helped Saul get started but also took his relative John Mark on the first missionary journey, Acts 13. I am aware that John Mark left them at Perga and returned to Jerusalem. When Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along again on the second missionary journey the contention between Paul and Barnabas was so strong that they split. Paul chose Silas and left. Without question the church needed Paul the great apostle to the Gentiles and writer of most of the books of the New Testament. But Mark needed an encourager in the person of Barnabas. If it had not been for Barnabas we might not have the gospel according to Mark. Even Paul at the end of his ministry wrote Timothy to bring Mark "for he is profitable to me in the ministry," II Timothy 4:11.

The church today needs men like Barnabas. Men who are generous not only with their finances but also their time. Men who see a young man not just as he is but what he can become in the Lord. Men who are patient and willing to give a young man a start in the ministry and in some cases even give them a second chance.

I have been involved in Bible College work for many years. With regard to the training of ministers, I am fully convinced that there are some things that a Bible College can do that the local church usually cannot do. This includes a systematic study of the bible, church history, etc. Also students have the opportunity to meet and relate with other students from different backgrounds thus broadening their experiences. However, I am also fully convinced that the church can do many things that our Bible Colleges are not equipped to do. This would include "on the job" training such as hospital visitation, experience in funerals and weddings, conducting services, leadership training, etc. There needs to be greater cooperation between the Bible colleges and the church in the training of young ministers. Years ago one of the Bible Colleges had the students attend Bible College for the first three years and then serve the fourth year as an intern in a local church under the direction of an experienced minister. Whether there is a formal or informal internship there needs to be more men like Barnabas who will help young ministers graduating from Bible College get started in the ministry. These young men need mentors. Are you willing to give a lot of your time to properly and fully train a young minister.

Barnabas we need you. If you are interested in mentoring a young minister for a period of time please call or write me.

 


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