Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Volunteer (11/23/06)
- TITLE: A Barnabas Man
By Dolores Stohler
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
At least once a week he would enter the mission building where I worked and pass from office to office, greeting everyone with a smile. “Good morning. How are you?” was his usual greeting. Little more than that, but I always felt a ray of sunshine had entered the office along with Phil. Almost everyone paused at their jobs only long enough to say, “Good morning.” But I always felt he deserved a great deal more than that. And so I usually stopped whatever I was doing and took a few minutes to chat.
Phil was brain damaged, the result of an attempt to commit suicide when he was a much younger man. Fortunately, he met Jesus on the road to recovery and now served him in the only way that he could - as “a Barnabas man“. After he made the rounds of the mission agencies in Wheaton, Illinois, offering cheer to everyone, he drove to a large mall nearby and spent the rest of the day handing out tracts. How many converts he made that way is anyone’s guess. I doubt if Phil ever knew whether he was making an impact or not, but he became a familiar face in the mall and many knew him by name.
People tend to believe that the volunteer effort is what counts. They strive to make the largest money donation or hold as many charitable positions as possible. Some will serve from a sense of duty, some will give with a joyful heart, but the angels will sing for the ones who give because they love the Lord.
Every believer has heard of the first Barnabas man, a disciple of Christ. They probably know that his given name was Joseph and that Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement (or consolation). In his first act of faith, he sold all his land and brought the money to lay at the feet of the apostles (Acts 4:36). Once he’d freed himself from all his possessions, he traveled with the little band of disciples and appointed himself as their ambassador.
It was Barnabas who brought Paul into the company of the apostles when they were afraid to accept him as Saul of Tarsus. He became like a brother to Paul and they shared a ministry. But when Paul was ready to reject his young cousin, John Mark, for his lack of steadfastness, Barnabas rescued him, taking him under his wing. From then on the Book of Acts speaks only of Paul. Barnabas had resigned his position in order to mentor Mark. Now Mark assigned himself to the task of recording Jesus’ words and works - an awesome contribution. While Mark was busy writing, Barnabas once more traveled with Paul, offering encouragement. Like my friend Phil, he recognized the need to encourage the saints and made that his mission in life.
God’s values are different from ours. We tend to honor those who stand out in the crowd: win awards, start a ministry, appear on TV. But there are those who volunteer to work behind the scenes: stuff envelopes, serve in a soup kitchen, visit the sick or those in prison. Or, like Phil, they choose to present a bright smile and a word of encouragement. Are they of any less value to God? Does he really require our works, our acts of service, or is it O.K. to just be a comfort and blessing to others?
I think Jesus said it best, “I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41 NIV)
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.