Human desire is quick to believe that when God wants to use you to change the world, He’ll do so by putting you on a great platform where everyone will see you, adore you, admire and “love” you. Fortunately, God in His great and supreme wisdom, doesn’t always let it go this way. He may call you to impact the life of one person, who will in turn impact the life of hundreds, thousands or millions in their lifetime. This way, you would have changed the world forever, but still remain an unknown. This is not a bad thing. It’s a place of humility.
This was the case with Barnabas.
Barnabas, after much prayer, was selected by the Holy Spirit, along with Paul, to become partners in ministry. Along the way, John Mark, a relative of Barnabas who’d been with them but absconded, later came back. Paul wasn’t convinced that they should carry John along any longer. But Barnabas, being an older Christian (with a better understanding of grace) and a man with more patience, knew that John shouldn’t be abandoned, but rather, properly discipled. This resulted into a quarrel between Paul and Barnabas, with Paul deciding to take Silas instead since Barnabas refused to abandon John Mark, and so Paul and Barnabas parted ways (Acts 15:36-40).
Barnabas was never mentioned again in the Bible.
But John Mark was.
As it turns out, after Paul was imprisoned by Caesar in Jerusalem, he needed help from trusted hands to receive supplies, and also to have his letters safely delivered to the churches. John Mark was there for Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). Perhaps, Barnabas was too old or had already died, but before doing so, had instructed John Mark to carry on the mission work, and be there for Paul and the churches when they needed him to be, teaching John what it meant to truly love, forgive and gracious, even to Paul who’d initially refused him a second chance in faith and mission work. It was with John’s help and devotion that some of Paul’s letters that are now part of the Bible, were safely delivered to the churches. Barnabas, probably from the beginning, understood his role in the life of Paul, and in the event that he could no longer help Paul, had prepared John Mark to carry on in his place; all this Barnabas did even when Paul didn’t know that he would need Barnabas someday. Today, the church has the complete Bible because John was faithful to Paul—but only because Barnabas stepped away from a platform with Paul that would have seemingly made him “great,” and he did so to lovingly guide and disciple John until John became the capable and trusted missionary that the churches could count on (2 Timothy 4:11).
This is humility in its highest form. This is also love, kindness, grace and forgiveness (to Paul).
In the same way, God has called some of us to be an instrument of change in one or a few people’s lives. This is not a bad thing, but good.
Are you a parent, teacher, high school sports coach, librarian etc.? Don’t worry if you see failure or little fruit in your work as long as you’re doing your best. There’s always an observer or onlooker, a person listening or paying attention even when it is not obvious. You may be someone who’ll impact the one person that God ordained to change the whole world in a great way. Understand that your choosing to help a person that the whole world has given up on may likely not be approved or applauded by those who’re closest to you or who believe should know better. But if the Holy Spirit urges you to continue what you’re doing, then do so. In like manner, when Paul chose Silas, Paul was commended by the church for doing so (Acts 15:40). Remember that God’s Word and instruction to you trumps popular opinion, even the ones generally held up by Christians. Know this: When your work is done, that person, as well as all the people that they impact, will be special jewels on your crown someday in heaven! God bless you and continue to remain encouraged, so that you too can in turn be a Son/Daughter of Encouragement like Barnabas (Acts 4:36)!
About the Editor
Miranda A. Uyeh is the founder and editor of To Be A Person (TBAP), the author of Christian Romance/Suspense fiction, To Die Once: Child of Grace #1, a Mogul Global Ambassador, and a copywriter. She was a one-time shortlisted judge for the Inspy Awards in 2014 in the Contemporary Romance & Romance/Suspense Category.
When Miranda isn’t reviewing books/entertainment or hosting interviews on TBAP, she’s writing, reading for fun or relaxing with a good movie! When she gets bored with the world, she talks to God about it! To learn more about her book, To Die Once, her journey as an author and her other activities, you can follow her personal website. You can also connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.
*The article, I Am Barnabas, was originally published on To Be A Person (TBAP), and is part of the I Am Series.