Lessons From Barnabas

Jo Saxton | October 08, 2018

In the book of Acts we see the birth and exponential growth of the Church. God takes a few faithful men and builds a body to spread His name across the globe. One of these men was Barnabas.

As the Church spread, Barnabas could only respond with celebration. He gave up money, control, and even his own reputation in order to see the Church move forward. Barnabas’ example is what led Jo Saxton to say this:

“For those of us who lead, as we're seeking to celebrate what God's doing, can you celebrate what God's doing in another church in your community or amongst your team? Because it doesn't blow out our candle by lighting another. It doesn't actually damage us. It doesn't actually hurt us to celebrate how the Lord has moved.”

Watch the video below to hear more lessons we can learn from Barnabas.

Prefer to read rather than watch? Here’s the transcript to Jo’s talk:

But as leaders, there's another part of doing life as an uncommon fellowship that we see is hugely important. And speaking to you as leaders, we see that the sharing of life, men that they gave access to the people around them. Barnabas is one of my favorites in the Bible. One of my favorites. Well, at least this year he's my favorite in the Bible. And what I love about him is Barnabas isn't even his name. His name was Joseph. But he was so defined by the way he encouraged people that they renamed him. He was defined as the son of encouragement. Literally the son of rest. He was always the one who was looking for what God was doing and rather than being so insecure he had to shut it down, he'd celebrate it. He'd celebrate what God is doing. We see in Acts, Chapter 11. We meet him in Acts 4 where he sells the field and gives the disciples the money and he doesn't stipulate what for. I mean, how cool is that? Dude is awesome.

We see him when the Church is breaking out in ways he didn't understand. He's described as full of faith and a good man. Giving a good report to the church, saying "It is different from what we do, but God is doing something different from what we do." He gives access to the unattractive and the unpolished leader. There's a guy called Saul who has come to faith. And Barnabas trades his reputation, uses his reputation on Saul. Saul who calls people to get to Antioch in the first place because of how he persecuted people. And he raises this person up. A practice for this uncommon fellowship is the leaders gave access so other people could rise up and come into their own. Is that a practice in your life as well? With Barnabas, we see and with Paul, initially, you see it in the text, initially Barnabas' name always comes first. And then somewhere around Acts, chapter 13, 14 or so, Paul comes first. It's like a picture of the prominence changing. For those of us who lead, as we're seeking to celebrate what God's doing, can you celebrate what God's doing in another church in your community or amongst your team? Because it doesn't blow out our candle by lighting another. It doesn't actually damage us. It doesn't actually hurt us to celebrate how the Lord has moved.

And we see in Barnabas a willingness to take this rugged, rough genius and raise him up. We see it with Barnabas with John-Mark, who completely messed up, and him pulling him alongside. And we see in later, in the Scriptures, how his life is already turned around. We need a lot of Barnabases. The thing I find fascinating, there is no New Testament letter or book named after Barnabas. But the imprint of his influence is throughout the New Testament because without Barnabas, would there be a Paul and would there be a Mark? But that requires a generosity from us as a practice. That requires a security from us, that we would share our life and share our stuff and share our gifts and share our opportunities and share our mission with others. That requires that we give away without expecting anything in return. Are we ready for that? Can you and I invite people into our life? Can we invite people into leadership and help them get there, even if we become less and they become more? Can we invite people alongside us in mission? Because unity sounds lovely until you have to do it. Unity sounds like it's perfect, like name your song of your generation. But it always involves swaying and it feels really lovely. But then that person's got something you haven't or is doing something you may never do. Can we celebrate that? Can we celebrate that?



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