We have been learning of the early church in our studies in the Book of Acts. We can learn much from Barnabas, a great man of God. Though not mentioned much compared to others he was instrumental in the spread of the gospel during the first century of the church.

Barnabas is a great example for us to follow in our Christian ministry. He is singled out as an example of generosity and encouragement (Acts 4:36-37). His generosity not only ministered to the needs of many, it also prompted others to be generous as well. It is no wonder that he was one of those who carried a gift from the church at Antioch to the needy saints in Judea (Acts 11:27-30).

Barnabas was generous in other ways. In 1 Corinthians chapter 9 we learn that both Barnabas and Paul chose to minister without monetary compensation for the sake of the gospel. This was done so that they would not be a burden to the church, and so that the gospel might be more effectively advanced. As salvation is free to the sinner so, too, was the ministry of Paul and Barnabas.

Barnabas was also a great encouragement to many in that he was quick to share his ministry. After Saul’s dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus Barnabas played a crucial role in encouraging and facilitating Paul’s acceptance by the church in Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-28).

When the apostles at the church in Jerusalem heard about the believers at Antioch they sent Barnabas to minister there. Acts 11:13-24: “When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” Barnabas concluded that this church would greatly benefit from Paul’s ministry in addition to his own. “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch” (Acts 11:25-26).

In Acts 13, the leadership roles of Paul and Barnabas were divinely reversed, so that Paul became the more prominent of the two. I believe that Barnabas rejoiced in Paul’s “promotion”, gladly continuing to serve with him. Later he left working with Paul in order to labor with Mark on separate missionary journeys. (Acts 15:36-40).

We, too, can and should be humble servants of the Lord, always being generous and encouraging one another. We must continue to serve the Lord faithfully as we work together to bring others to know our Savior, even as we know Him.

Submitted by David Arnold