By Zachary Grimm
When I think of missions minded men in the Bible, Barnabas is one of the first names that comes to mind. Everything he did was for the glory of God and the furtherance of the Gospel. Let us look a little closer at this man’s life and see some of the qualities that made him a servant of God.
He Was Giving
The first time Barnabas is mentioned in the Bible, we find him selling his possessions and giving it all to the Lord’s service. “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37).
Here we see Barnabas giving everything he had to the Lord’s work. This brings to mind a piece from Frances Havergal’s wonderful hymn, “Take My Life, and Let It Be,”
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
How many Christians could say that without hesitation or reservation? When will we realize that the only true way to have joy is to be givers? We must be givers if we want God to use us. After all, Jesus gave His life for us.
He Was Encouraging
The next time Barnabas occurs in the Scriptures, we see him helping Paul get acquainted with the disciples at Jerusalem. “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27).
After Paul was converted, he decided to join himself with the church in Jerusalem. When he arrived, the disciples were reluctant to receive him, for they remembered how he persecuted Christians. But Barnabas, acting in a Christ-like manner, befriended him and encouraged him in the Lord. I wonder if Paul would have been half the man he was were it not for Barnabas.
He Was Full of the Holy Ghost and Faith
“Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:22-24).
Here we see that Barnabas was a man full of the Holy Ghost and faith. These are things I believe are lacking in many Christians’ lives today. Yet, these are the things we need most. Without the Holy Ghost and faith, we will not accomplish much for the Lord.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Being full of the Spirit is a necessity for Christians serving the Lord.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him.” We cannot please God without faith. Barnabas was a man with both faith and the Holy Ghost. Oh, for more Christians to be filled with the Spirit and faith!
He Was a Godly Preacher
Barnabas was also a preacher. “Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also” (Acts 15:35). He preached in many cities to thousands of Gentiles. In fact, we could say he would preach to anyone who would listen.
Acts 13:46 tells us that “Paul and Barnabas waxed bold” while they were preaching. Barnabas feared no one but God. It did not matter if he was preaching to the most powerful man on earth, or the poorest man to walk the planet; Barnabas loved people, and cared enough about their souls to tell them of the truth.
Barnabas was one of those men in the Bible who, although they accomplished great things, never really made it into the spotlight. But then, maybe that is what made him so great. He was willing to step back into the shadows and allow Paul to take the lead.
As great as this man was, he was only a sinner saved by grace. We see in Paul’s epistle to the Galatians that Peter was living one way in front of the Jews, and another way in front of the Gentiles. “And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation” (Galatians 2:13). Here Barnabas was affected by another man’s sin. May we be careful not to let men who are in error influence us to do wrong. Let us focus on the good of Barnabas, and learn about one of the first-century Christians.