Moving to a new town or going to a new school or church can be a little awkward. You don’t anyone so everyone is a stranger. When you are in this position, it sure helps if someone introduces themselves and makes you feel welcome.
That’s what Barnabas did for Saul. After Saul’s conversion he went to Jerusalem to meet the leaders of the church. Everyone was a little apprehensive about Saul because of his background.
But the Bible says, “Barnabas took hold of him.” Barnabas saw that others were apprehensive. Perhaps the tension was thick in the room. But underneath the tension, there was one man with a heart of encouragement and that was Barnabas. He stepped up when no one else would and welcomed Saul.
This wasn’t the only time Barnabas encouraged. In Acts 15, Barnabas and Saul are preparing to go on their second missionary journey. John Mark had gone with them on their first trip but, he bailed out on them.
Maybe Barnabas had been talking with John Mark and he felt John Mark was really repentant for what he had done. Barnabas, true to his nature, wanted to give Mark a second chance. But Paul would have none of it. He wouldn’t let Mark go with them. So Barnabas and Paul split. All because Barnabas felt so strongly about lifting someone (John Mark) who had made a mistake.
Sometimes, being a Barnabas means risking our friends. Someone may question you; “What you are doing standing with that person?” Or, “why are you giving them a second chance? They have already messed you over once.”
Being a Barnabas can mean taking some risky steps… to pick up someone with a questionable reputation. Today, someone you know needs a hand. Someone you know needs a phone call. Someone who has slipped needs someone to help them up. Be that person today. Be a Barnabas to someone today.