For Barnabas was a good man [privately and publicly—his godly character benefited both
himself and others] and he was full of the Holy Spirit and full of faith [in Jesus the Messiah,
through whom believers have everlasting life]. And a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Acts 11:24 (AMP)
Do you ever have a time when you read one verse in the Bible and it seems to jump out of the page at you? This happened to me when I read this verse out of the Amplified Bible. Sometimes when that happens, I get one gold nugget for my faith that helps refine my faith. Other times, like this time, God unfolds a whole sermon from that one verse!
Barnabas was mentioned many times in the book of Acts. According to Acts 4:36, his real name was Joses, but he was so known for encouraging others that the apostles started calling him Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement.") This verse (Acts 11:24) says that he was a "good man." What constitutes a "good man" to one may not be the same from another person's perspective. In this case, it meant that he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus. What I like is that he lived this life day in and day out whether he was in a group of people or all alone. There is an old saying that goes, "Character is who you are when no one else is looking." Seeking God and following Christ was a lifestyle for Barnabas. He didn't just say he believed in Christ; he lived it!
I love how it says that "his godly character benefited both himself and others." I believe that the way it benefited himself was for his focus to not be on following Jesus for selfish gain but merely because he knew that Jesus is the source of true, eternal life. He let Romans 15:13 become a reality in his life ("Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13, NKJV). He knew that when we seek God first, everything else works out (Matt. 6:33), and he was motivated to encourage others in the faith, thus benefiting them as they, too, surrender their lives to Christ.
That is how I want to be! It can be challenging to stand for Christ in a society that often tries to silence Christians and even persecute them for their faith in some instances. However, if we can be like Barnabas and have a true commitment to serving God day in and day out when no one is looking, then we will be shining lights to others without even trying! We will rejoice when a great number of people are brought to the Lord!
With over thirty years of experience as an educator, minister, and licensed professional counselor, Tammy Melton, LPC holds ministerial credentials with Harvest Network International and is the founder of Legacy Ministries for Christ, Incorporated and Legacy Freedom, LLC. Tammy desires to see people set free with tools of inner healing and relational unity. Tammy and Bill, her husband of 36 years, live in Fayetteville, GA and have two adult daughters.