When I read through the New Testament I tend to focus a lot on Paul and what he did. After all, he did write 2/3 of the New Testament. He was a church planter who truly did change the world. Although Paul was a great man, I feel like we can get so focused on him that we overlook another great man of God: Barnabus. I feel like there are many lessons that we can learn from him, especially being willing to take a chance on people.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not an incredibly trusting person. It takes me a while to warm up to people and open up to them. I’m not always willing to take a chance on people. I’m usually not willing to trust a person again if they have hurt me in the past or given up on me. But Barnabus didn’t struggle with that problem, or if he did he overcame it.
Acts 9 recounts the conversion of Saul (who became Paul). He was formerly a religious zealot who killed Christians. After he met Jesus though, he began to preach the gospel in the synagogues. The disciples were understandably cautious about getting close to this man, all except for Barnabus. He took Paul under his wing and told the other disciples Paul’s amazing story and transformation.
Later in the book of Acts Barnabus does the same thing with another young disciple. Acts 15: 36-39 says:
“And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus…”
This is significant because earlier in the book Paul and Barnabus had taken a chance on a young disciple named John called Mark, but he ended up walking away from them and their ministry. Barnabus was willing to give him a second chance.
I think that this is an excellent example of what God does for us: He gives us a second chance. No matter what we do or how badly we screw up, God doesn’t give up on us. I fail every single day, but God still sticks with me. He forgives me for my sins and the Bible promises that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. This is what God does for us, so we should be willing to do it for others. Although this is much easier to say than to do, Barnabus proves to us that it is possible. Let’s strive to be a people who extend the same grace to others that God has so freely given to us.