Barnabas was a remarkable man. We saw him first in Acts 4 where he sold his land and gave the proceeds to the church so that they could help the needy. We saw him again in Acts 9, when he brought Saul before the skeptical and fearful apostles, and vouched for Saul before them. Now we see him again, reaching out to the Gentiles. When the Christians finally started reaching out to the Gentiles and saw fruit, the apostles sent Barnabas to them, and it says,
When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. (23)
He then reached out to Saul, and asked him to join him in ministering to the believers in Antioch (where we first hear the name “Christian” being used). And when a prophesy was made that a famine would hit Jerusalem, Barnabas and Saul took the gifts that were collected in Antioch and brought them back to Jerusalem.
The verse that strikes me, however, is verse 24.
[Barnabas] was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith. (24a)
That’s the kind of man I want to be. A good man. Barnabas was actually this man’s nickname. His real name was Joseph, but he was so beloved, he was called, “The Son of Encouragement,” by those who knew him.
Why was he this way? He was full of the Holy Spirit and faith.
He was a man so filled with the Spirit, that fruit burst out from his life. Love poured out from him, causing him to see the best in people, to believe in people that others wouldn’t, to give generously of his time and money, and to speak words that encouraged all who heard.
His faith went far beyond just simple belief. It permeated every aspect of his life. And people noticed. Because of this,
A great number of people were brought to the Lord. (24b)
That’s what I want. To be so filled with the Spirit and faith, that people can’t help but notice and be attracted to our Lord.
For some people, faith is simply a personal thing, something to be kept private. And for others, the filling of the Spirit is again, mostly for their own personal benefit. A way to feel blessed. But when we are filled with the Spirit and with faith, it changes us. It changes the way we think. It changes the way we live. It flows out of our lives and it touches other people, causing them to become interested in God.
How about you? Are you filled with the Spirit and with faith?
Father, fill me with your Holy Spirit. Increase my faith. Transform me from the very depths of my soul so that your love will pour out of me and that through me, people will be touched and come into your kingdom.
I can’t change myself. But you can.
Fill me today and every day. In Jesus name, amen.