When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. Acts 9:26-27 NIV
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Audio for today’s blog
Saul’s story sounds very familiar. A new convert tries to join an old fellowship and is having trouble fitting in. The apostles were justified in being suspicious of Saul. He had authority to arrest them and oversee their trial and death as he did with Stephen’s stoning. Nevertheless, Paul was trying something new, engaging with his spiritual family.
I remember early in the COVID crisis during the initial lock down going to Walmart for grocery supplies. I felt as if everyone was suspicious of one another. Could I be standing next to someone who had the virus? Do they think I am spreading the virus? Suspicion was the highest in America that I had ever felt in my lifetime.
The effects of COVID suspicion has created a real struggle to reengage for community within the body of Christ. Many have found a rhythm of doing church virtual. To reconnect in Sunday School classes, small groups, and large gatherings is a challenge. Even when you take the steps to “try and be a part”, it doesn’t have the same feeling as before. Even as I am writing this, I feel the weight some are having by isolating themselves. It is vital for the body of Christ to encourage one another. Stop hiding behind excuses nurtured by fear.
It is time for the Barnabas to step up. Would the New Testament books written by Paul have ever come to pass, if Barnabas had not stepped up for Saul at this moment? He was the connector. Barnabas could see the change in Saul. Barnabas put his own reputation on the line for his testimony about Saul’s conversion. Saul needed Barnabas. And Barnabas knew the disciples needed Saul.
I am asking you to reflect on two things today in trying something new. First, ask the Lord how you can be more intentional about reconnecting with the body of Christ through your church and small groups. They need your presence.
Second, ask the Lord to reveal someone who needs a Barnabas. Ask the Lord to show you how you might step into someone’s spiritual journey and help them in their connections to the church and to God. It will involve more than giving a good word for them, for you will have to invest some of your life to walk alongside them. It’s possible that even right now, God is putting someone into your mind that could use the closeness of a true friend to help them engage with God at a deeper and more intimate level. That’s what Barnabas did for Saul.
Who was a Barnabas for you in your own walk in Christ? Perhaps you might want to thank them for their influence in your own spiritual journey. You can do this. Life on life in times of darkness represents the mission of Jesus for each one of us.
Blessings Love y’all