Friendship

Verlyn Verbrugge

READ : Acts 9:26-31

Barnabas took [Saul] and brought him to the apostles. (v. 27)

For a while Saul stayed in Jerusalem teaching about Jesus. But as we saw yesterday, the believers there were skeptical. How could he convince them he was truly a changed man? It took the intervention of a friend – Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement.”

Barnabas had already established credibility with the church in Jerusalem. He had sold a field and donated the proceeds to the church for distribution to the needy (Acts 4:36-37). Barnabas became convinced of the genuineness of Saul’s conversion, and he vouched for that to the apostles in Jerusalem.

Several years later, Barnabas was sent to investigate a problem in the growing church in Antioch: Gentiles were becoming Christians without first becoming Jews. Barnabas knew that Saul would be a great one to serve as adviser and evangelist, so he went to Tarsus, found him, and convinced him to come to Antioch (Acts 11:16-26).

Together in Antioch the two friends served the church. Barnabas had the gifts of encouragement and compassion, and Saul had the gifts of preaching and teaching. Each used his gifts so that many people came to the Lord. “And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:26). “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1 NIV).

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, help me use my gifts in the church. Let me never see myself in competition with other gifted servants of yours. Amen.