A good man

Ícone de São Barnabé.

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‘Barnabas was a good man’ Acts 11:24

I want today’s message to be focussed on the word “good”. If I told you today that I thought you were dating a “good guy/girl”, or if I told you that you had done a “good job”. You would consider the word good, to simply mean acceptable. So,when Luke sat down to write Acts chapter 11, do you think that God impressed on his heart to call Barnabas “a good man” simply because there was nothing else he could think of? On progress reports and report cards around the country, the word “good” means “good enough to be considered acceptable”. To God though, the word good is something way different. Good is one of the greatest titles something or someone can have.

Barnabas was an evangelist at the same time Paul was. And we know so much about Paul’s life and travels but so little about Barnabas’. So, why did God chose to give those words to Luke? If this is such a magnificent title, what are the character traits that you and I must possess in order to be considered “good men or women” in the sight of the Lord? The stories that we do have of Barnabas give us the four traits that prove someone a good man. Four areas of Christian life that Barnabas excelled in.

1.) Barnabas was a great SERVANT.

Barnabas was a great example of Christian Stewardship at work. A steward can also be called a servant, but a particular type of servant. A steward at your job for example, would be someone who sees something that needs to be done, and does it. End of story, no questions asked. Barnabas became part of the Early Church, not long after Jesus left Earth. The church at this point was flat broke. They were building and funding missionaries, prayer groups, music groups, and nearly every other thing a church would need to get going. What does this have to do with him you ask? Barnabas was a wealthy land owner who gave everything to the cause. He saw a need, and filled  the need. He did not hold back from God. He gave everything he owned for Jesus’ name. This doesn’t mean you have to call up your pastor and donate your house, and all of your vehicles. In his early stage of faith, he had nothing else to offer. He (at this time) was not a missionary, and had no other talents or services that we know of, that he could have donated. So he gave what he had. We have such an obscure view of ownership these days. We fail to realize that God owns everything. God owns your children, your spouses, you, your home, your vehicles and everything else under the sun! In the secular world view, ownership is you owning you and your belongings. In Christianity, if we are honest with ourselves here, God owns you and yours. A businessman in Dallas Texas once was quoted telling his pastor friend that he made more money that year than any other. Once this pastor asked him where he stood in his local church, and did not get the answer he had hoped for, the businessman informed the preacher that this, though not his lowest year, in retrospect, was his most unhappy. He had something (money, talent, whatever) and kept it to himself.

2.) Barnabas had a STRONG FAITH.

Not just a strong faith in God. Most Christians have that, and the ones that don’t should. Barnabas was also quick to put his faith in people, in essence; “Barnabas believed in his brothers”. Remember when Paul visits the home church, and Peter wants to cast him out because of all the bad things he had done while his name was still Saul? Who stood up for him? That’s right it was Barnabas, and largely we have Barnabas to thank for our faith even existing. Paul could have been down on himself after Peter’s words and never did all that he did for Christianity! Later, that same Paul needed to be reminded of how to believe in someone. Barnabas and Mark had been travelling and evangelizing with Paul. Mark found the missionary life harder than what he thought. Ever thought to yourself “this is NOT what I signed up for“, well, Mark did. But when Mark came to his senses later down the road and wanted to return to the sides of Paul and Barnabas (and probably Luke at this point), Paul didn’t want to let him, but Barnabas as always was there to believe in his friend. Lastly, when Paul found himself in prison for preaching the gospel, who did he ask for? Who did he desire to see? Again, Barnabas to the rescue to comfort his friend and remind him that someone believed in him. It’s also important to note that Paul also asked for Mark. By the way, in case you didn’t know, this is the same Mark who wrote the Gospel Of Mark in the Bible. That too may not have happened if Barnabas had not believed in his friend.

So far, we’ve learned two traits of a GOOD MAN. Tomorrow we’ll conclude this message on Barnabas, there is just so much good information on him that one day’s E-Message can’t do it justice.

Until tomorrow— God bless,

Chris

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