encouraging yourself out of a job
"Barnabas went off to Tarsus to look for Saul." —Acts 11:25
Whenever a lowly underdog needed an advocate, the apostle Barnabas stepped forward. Barnabas was a champion for those who needed a second chance. Barnabas "took (Paul) in charge" (Acts 9:27) when Paul risked his life to return to Jerusalem. Barnabas introduced Paul to the apostles and spoke glowingly on Paul's behalf. Without Barnabas' intervention, those in Jerusalem would have "refused to believe that (Paul) was a disciple" at all (Acts 9:26), given Paul's background of zealously persecuting disciples of Jesus. When the church in Antioch needed encouragement and instruction, Barnabas brought in Paul to help give it to them (Acts 11:25ff). Barnabas brought financial relief to Christians in Jerusalem who were suffering the effects of a famine (Acts 11:30).
When Barnabas was chosen as the leader of the first evangelical mission (Acts 13:2), he took along his young cousin Mark (Col 4:10). All of Barnabas' encouraging of Paul bore fruit as Paul stepped out and proclaimed God's word in great power. Soon Barnabas lost his leadership job as Paul ascended to the top spot in the mission because of his powerful preaching.
When the pressure increased, Mark quit the missionary team. Barnabas later took Mark under his wing when Paul refused to take Mark back (Acts 15:37ff). But Barnabas' advocacy for Mark meant the loss of his job on the missionary team. At this point, Barnabas disappears from the pages of the Acts of the Apostles. Yet Barnabas' humble, selfless encouraging bore fruit again. Mark became a strong evangelist, even writing a gospel. Barnabas decreased, but his protégés increased greatly (Jn 3:30).
Prayer: Father, may I raise up disciples for Jesus as Barnabas did.
Promise: "The gift you have received, give as a gift." —Mt 10:8
Praise: St. Barnabas' faith was so great that he was the one who introduced St. Paul, a well-known persecutor of Christians, to the other apostles (Acts 9:27).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001