Lesson 10 -- first quarter 2003
February 2, 2003
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications
See a need?
"If God allows you to see a problem, it is because He wants you to help solve it." Bro. Dwight, my former high school teacher, said that over 20 years ago. Or maybe he said it this way instead, "When God shows you a need, He wants to use you to meet it." Whatever the case, the point is clearly this: An awareness of need is an obligation to do something constructive about it. Barnabas certainly applied that truth in his relationships with others. Here we see four needs he noticed and addressed.
The need for materials things. Barnabas saw (as did others) that some people in the church at Jerusalem were in dire straits materially. What they lacked, we do not know. But Barnabas knew they didn't have some things they needed. So he sold some of his own possessions so that he might have some funds free to contribute to the needs of others. I imagine he had some ways in which he could have used that money for himself. If so, he chose to forego that in favor of putting the needs of others first. Perhaps he did so with Proverbs 3:27 in mind: "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." His compassion surely demonstrates the active love of God in his heart: "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17). Some day the King will say to him and all like him, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 24:40). May we also be part of that group! Be assured, though, that we won't be if we don't learn to sacrificially meet the materials needs of others when God calls us to do so.
The need for acceptance. Saul had a reputation that brought fear and distrust to the church in Jerusalem, even three years after his conversion. They simply could not believe that his conversion was genuine. They rejected the notion that he could be a disciple. So they refused to accept him. Barnabas, however, knew the truth about this changed man. He also knew Saul's need. So he took Saul and personally introduced him to the Apostles. In a sense, Barnabas risked his reputation and standing in the church in order to win acceptance for Saul. Thus we see the excellence of Barnabas again. But what about me and you? May God also find us useful in His hands to bring about the acceptance that some people need . . . and lack . . . in our congregations.
The need for teaching. When the church at Jerusalem learned of the wonderful response to the Gospel in Antioch, they sent Barnabas to investigate. Of course they would send Barnabas! He had shown himself as a man who could both see and meet needs. Sure enough, he saw a need at Antioch -- a need for further teaching. And sure enough, he saw how to meet that need. So he went looking for Saul. They both returned to Antioch where they taught and taught for a whole year. "OK," you might think. "This is obviously where I get off this train of thought. I'm no teacher." Oh, really? You're this old and you aren't a teacher? What a tragedy! I would think that your congregation would surely have one or two people younger than you. If so, they need someone just like you to help teach them. You, my friend, could be one of the examples they follow. If you see an area where they need to improve, use your own life to show them "how it's done"!
The need for encouragement. I wonder how John Mark felt in Paul's presence after he had deserted him on that missionary journey. In fact, I wonder how John Mark felt about himself whenever he thought about that whole disaster. If he had been at all like me, he would have gone through some heavy-duty times of bleak discouragement. Well, guess what. His uncle Barnabas knew he could use the encouragement of having a second chance. And Barnabas willingly put a strain in his own relationship with Paul in order to give John Mark what he needed. Oh, how the church today needs encouragers! Plead with God to open your eyes and heart in that way.
|Share This Page|
Thoughts for the Week: Archive | RSS Feed | Sponsor adding more | Put it on your site!