Dealers of Hope Part II


In the New Testament of the Bible, there was a man by the name of Barnabas. He was of the Tribe of Levi.  One of the twelve Tribes of Israel, in the Old Testament.  The Levites were set apart, by God, to carry out the sacred responsibilities of worship in Israel.  

Barnabas’ name in the Hebrew language means “Son of Consolation” or “One that Pardons.”  The definition of his name certainly identified Barnabas’ life gifting.  The following abbreviated story is about a man by the name of Saul who would find himself in a place, where he desperately needed a Barnabas kind of person in his life.

Saul had invested his life in persecuting those who had become followers of Jesus Christ.  He imprisoned, tortured, and murdered scores of people.  (Acts 9:1)

On a chosen day by God, Saul was riding on the, boney back of his donkey, ambling down the road.  Suddenly a great light appeared, and he fell off of his beast.  A voice (GOD) spoke out loud to him.  “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  When Saul opened his eyes, he could see absolutely nothing.  How frightened he must have been.  His fellow companions saw this encounter take place and they were speechless.  They led him, by the hand, into Damascus and for three days he was blind and did not eat or drink anything.  It was there that God sent another man to Saul by the name of Ananias.  Ananias was used, by God, to pray for Saul and his sight was recovered.  Saul was also filled with the Holy Spirit and water baptized. Talk about change!

Up to this point, Saul was greatly feared by all those who were followers of Christ.  They were terrified of him because of his reputation for persecuting Christians.  Now, after Saul’s conversion he would never be the same.  Transformation had really taken place in his life.  The Scripture tells us that after his conversion he spent several days in Damascus with the disciples; and began boldly preaching the Good News of his changed life. (vs. 22) 

After preaching for several days had gone by, there was a conspiracy by the Jews to kill Saul.  In fact, the disciples spared him by helping to escape to Jerusalem.  Now, new problem developed in Saul’s life.  He tried to join the ranks of the disciples, however, that did not go so well because of his past reputation.

Enter Barnabas, The Son of Consolation.  He stepped up taking Saul to the Apostles and then he testified on Saul’s behalf about his authentic conversion and preaching the gospel that was the real deal.  This gave Saul freedom to move about Jerusalem and to keep preaching this life changing message of Good News.

What would have Saul done if Barnabas had not stepped in to help?  What would have happened if no mercy had been extended to him?  It is likely that the Son of Consolation saved Saul’s life.  This once feared man, by Christians, would soon become the most prolific author of the New Testament.  All because someone believed and invested in hm.

We read in Acts 11:19-30 where Barnabas’ gift is once again displayed.  He was sent by the apostles of Antioch to Jerusalem, because a large revival had taken place.  In Antioch, a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.  The scriptures tell us that several things took place with Barnabas when he arrived in Antioch.  1. He recognized the grace of God.  Barnabas knew what grace looked like, the divine and undeserved favor from God.  He knew it because he experienced it himself, and he could now offer it to others.  2. He encouraged the new converts faith.  This man of consolation knew the value of encouragement.  Encouragement is simply helping someone find courage.  Courage to move forward, courage to take risks, and do what has not been before. Barnabas was known as a good man because he allowed God to shape him and use him.

Verse 25 tells us that Barnabas went to look for Saul in Tarsus, which is where Saul’s home was.  Barnabas went out of his way to find Saul because he knew of Gods transforming power and its impact in Saul’s life.   No longer was Saul a novice needing the instruction of his mentor, but now these men have joined together to proclaim a life changing message to the world.  A message that says, no matter what you have done, there is hope and change is possible.  

We can’t change ourselves, but God extends his love and mercy to us.  It is God’s presence that enables us to be transformed.  Transformation is not behavior modification.  Transformation only occurs because the supernatural God performs miracles in people’s lives. 

Was there a person or persons who stepped into your life, at just the right time, to offer you encouragement or help?  Maybe a phone call or letter would be appropriate to let them know how thankful you are for them.  Tell them of the impact they have had on your life.

If you are in a place where you need someone like a Barnabas to help you along, pray and ask God to bring that person into your life.  Everyone needs a Barnabas at some time.  

Is it possible that God may want to use you to extend kindness towards another?  Maybe that person has a reputation that warrants avoidance.  How do you think God looks at that person?  I can tell you that He sees their heart and knows their deepest desires and fears.  Who knows? There may be a miracle waiting in the wings that includes you.  Could you be that person person of consolation?  Who knows? You may be writing history by taking a risk.

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