DJ: 3 lessons from Barnabas  

Posted by Mike Sharrow

Looking at the Levite from Cyprus, Joseph (commonly referred to by friends as the Son of Encouragement, or Barnabas) provides some interesting principles on certain approaches to discipleship:

(1) Discipling the Enemy - when Saul the Christian-hater became an infant believer, Barnabas took the risk to step out and bring him into the fellowship of saints. He was willing to believe a person who was violently opposed to the Gospel could be used by God.

(2) Discipling the Inconvenient - associating with Saul/Paul was not fashionable. He was a suspicious character, had a reputation to get around and was rough around the edges. Barnabas didn't teach Paul everything he ended up knowing (that was the work of the Spirit, Scriptures, time, and communion with the Body), but he did sponsor his entry into the Church. Barnabas introduced Paul into the right gatherings of people, opened doors for growth opportunities. He went where it was inconvenient to help the inconvenient person grow towards Christ.

(3) Discipling the Failures - besides Paul, Barnabas also played a key role in the restoration of Mark. Mark had slipped up, made some mistakes, and faced division within the Body. Barnabas stepped out and again sponsored the unlikely character, bringing Mark back into the ministry and advocating for his acceptance among others - believing that change is always possible.

I thought these were some very practical and applicable principles for each of us to chew on.

*these points were adapted from the article "What Barnabas Taught me about Discipling" from the Mar/Apr 2001 issue of the "Discipleship Journal" magazine published by NavPress

This entry was posted at Friday, March 28, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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