A MORE COMPLETE PICTURE Read 1 Corinthians 9:6, Galatians 2:1,9,13 and Colossians 4:10

If you’ve read the Bible readings for today, you know I’m still caught up with good old Barnabas!  These verses round out his character, draw a more complete picture of a truly remarkable human being, a committed follower of Jesus Christ.  Quite a role model, yet with flaws and foibles and sins like the rest of us.  One of the many things I love about the Bible is how honest it is.  No candy-coating, no political spin or cover-up.  It gives us a complete picture.  Take Barnabas for example.  He’s hardworking.  In Corinthians Paul mentions that he and Barnabas must work for a living.  Paul was a  tent-maker.Possibly Barnabas was also.  We don’t know– but we do know is that they didn’t live by hand-outs.  They were hard-working men.  They did what they could not to be a burden on anyone else.  They were able…and if we’re able, we should do what the  Lord wants us to do.  And to do for those unable to help themselves.  A job to do, a word of encouragement to give, a second chance to offer…I want to be a laborer for Jesus just  like Barnabas !  You too?  Now, turn to Galatians and we see Paul and Barnabas as a team–‘this time with Barnabas’ and ‘gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship’.  Barnabas is a team-player, an encouragement to Paul, someone he can could on when the chips are down.  ‘Paul and Barnabas’–sounds like one name!  Well, neither of them are perfect, certainly.  They had that huge fight stomping off in  totally different directions. I’m sure they both felt the other was in the wrong and that they were dead right.  Paul certainly had his strong opinions.  Read Galatians 2:11 where Paul, the newbie, confronts the premier Apostle, Peter, ‘because he was clearly in the wrong.’  Clearly! Paul’s got chutzpah!  Not only is Peter wrong but we discover that he’s dragged good old Barnabas along with him!  Yikes.  You see Peter would fellowship with Gentile Christians but when the up-tight old Board of Elders showed up he turned his back on the  Gentile Christians, snubbing some of this,his new church family.  Paul just shakes his head in disgust, looks around the room and who’s with Peter off in the corner with the high mucky-muck? That’s right, Barnabas!  Bet that didn’t last too long–Paul lets those hypocrites know all about it.  And Paul could do it– and he did it! Now step back and pause for a moment.What about you…and me?   Who am I avoiding?  Or looking down upon?  Or trying to please people covering up who I really am?  ‘All things to all people’ but not save them, but to preserve my image in their eyes?That’s something to ponder and repent of.   Now to Colossians where Paul mentions Mark his fellow disciple, the cousin of Barnabas.  That second-chance given by Barnabas really paid off in the life of Mark.  He’s back in the battle, he’s here to stay, he’s standing side-by-side with Paul in prison never to run away,never to desert, never again.  Who knows what encouragement, what kind word, what act of tough love, what second chance we may give someone that may be just what the Holy Spirit will use to mold a life for Jesus now and forever.  Who knows?  Want to find out?

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