Acts 9:27 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.
I have had a few powerful mentors in my life. In college, a professor took me under his wing and nurtured an important part of me. He didn't latch onto a particular talent, as far as academics or speech therapy goes. Instead, he identified in me a desire to be close to and encourage others. This was one of his gifts as well.
He explained it like this, Life is a game of cosmic billiards. A person I bump, will bump another, who will bump another until one day, our relationship will change the world.
I think that is all part of God's plan. Like he used a welcoming Barnabas, he uses each of us to encourage and build up others.
What if Barnabas, like the other disciples, had rejected Paul's desire to become a part of God's church? An amazing evangelist would have had a much harder time reaching believers. Because Paul's ministry reached out primarily to Gentiles, Jesus's message would likely have been limited to the much smaller Jewish population.
But more than that, I think that we would have missed an amazing story of God's grace and mercy, in the story of Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus.
So Barnabas, who took a major risk, changed church history. And God, with his loving touch, protected the early Christians. Paul did not decide to persecute the church anymore, because his heart was changed.
God works wonders through others. Like cosmic billiards. We have to believe that God is ready to use us, he wants us to bump into the next person, who will bump into the next, until his message is spread around the world.
You have put so many people into our lives to encourage and strengthen us. Help us to be a strong positive influence in the lives of others, so that, like Barnabas, we can help others to share their gifts and further your kingdom.
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