There are all sorts of people with whom I come in contact that have the power to impact the way I feel. I met a person in a store the other day at the cash register who did not smile, hardly spoke and was just unfriendly. I left there feeling worse than when I came in. Later that same week, an associate at Sam’s Club was pretty friendly and very polite. She had a warm and conversational attitude and caused me to leave there feeling better than when I came in. Some people might make you angry. Some will make you sad. Some will even make you sick because they tell you about every little ache and pain they have.
Have you ever been around someone that just makes you feel better just by being around them? That’s the type of person Barnabas was! Start thinking about what type of person you are? How do you make people feel when you’re around them?
As a disciple of Jesus, Barnabas was committed to telling the good news about Jesus. He left people feeling good because he gave them something to feel good about. Do you leave people better than when you first see them? Not a bad goal to have.
Barnabas’ life displays certain characteristics that distinguish him as a servant of Christ. These characteristics can help us determine if our lives are consistent with the image of Christ. Let’s look at these characteristics found in his life and see if they are present in our lives.
His Goodness (Acts 11:24) Another word could be “righteous.” This refers to the righteousness that results in a Christian’s life once he has been made righteous by Jesus.
- Introduction of Paul to the Apostles (Acts 9:27)
- Emulation of Jesus. The phrase “he was a good man” tells us that he was like Jesus. (Acts 10:38) The church needs people whose lives are marked by goodness. Is God’s goodness present in your life?
His Generosity (Acts 4:36-37, 13:2-3) Barnabas proved to be quite a generous person.
- He was generous with his land (Acts 4:36-37) He gave up his possessions to benefit other people.
- He was generous with his life (Acts 13:2-3) His life was not his own, but was the Lord’s to do with as He saw fit.
- He was generous with his Lord (Acts 20:35) Luke reminds us of a quote that is not recorded in the gospels, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Every church needs people who are generous with Jesus. God exhibited ultimate generosity when He gave His only Son’s life for you and me! Can we do any less than give Him our lives as living sacrifices? (Romans 12:1)
His Godliness (Acts 11:24) He was “full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” Barnabas was God-possessed! He had so allowed the Holy Spirit to have control of his life that he was in the center of God’s will for his life. Because of his faith he was totally committed to being like Christ.
- He was Christlike in his conduct – (walk).
- He was Christlike in his conversation – (talk).
(see Ephesians 5:18-21) What you are on the inside is determined by your walk (conduct) and your talk (conversation).
His Gift of Grace (Acts 4:36) “Son of consolation or exhortation” This is what his name meant. In Acts 11:23 we read that he “exhorted them all” (Acts 13:43; 14:22)
- The church needs “Sons of Consolation.” So many times we will beat up our own, or we are wounded by friendly fire. We need to comfort one another, rather than criticize one another.
- We need “Sons of Exhortation.” Too many people say we can’t do that! I believe that with a little encouragement, the attitude of any church will change from “I can’t” to “I think I can” to “I can!”
His Gladness (Acts 11:23) Why was Barnabas glad? Could it be that people were getting right with God? His gladness made him want more people to come to Christ. He went around boldly telling people how to have a relationship with Christ! Matthew 18:12-13 uses the word “rejoice” which is the same word as “glad” in the Greek.
Are you glad when people come to Christ or could you care less? It seems like a silly question to a believer, because a person who is sold out to God is glad when people get saved! A lost person or a backslidden believer (carnal, cultural or casual Christian) couldn’t care less.
Can these characteristics of goodness, generosity, godliness, gift of grace, gladness) be found in your life? If not, why not?
- One reason may be that you are a casual or cultural Christian!
- Another reason may be you are lost, never before accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord.
- If you fit either one of these, better get it straightened out soon; there are no guarantees about tomorrow.
Remember, once you get Jesus, then you will want to be like Him. This study demonstrates that Barnabas is also a fine man after whom we can model our behavior.