Acts 9:26-43; Joshua 5:2-6:27; Job 23
Teamwork is a concept we don’t really understand in the United States. Sure, we root for our favorite sports teams, but let’s face it – we’re individualists. Some of us change “favorite teams” as often as our favorite sports figure changes them through free agency. Sometimes we forget how much of sharing the gospel is actually a “team” effort. The early church had to work together to share, to support and to protect each other. So, when Saul began to follow Jesus, after persecuting followers of Jesus, there was some skepticism among the believers. “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.” (Acts 9:27) Barnabas is one of the heroes of the Church, and yet he’s so often mentioned only in passing. He recognized what God had done in Saul and had enough faith to welcome him and bring him to the apostles. He truly was an encourager. While we don’t usually have to deal with people who persecuted followers of Christ in our own churches, there are people who encounter Jesus and have changed lives all the time. Some will be people we have a hard time accepting because of their previous lifestyle. In truth, God can make drastic changes in people and draw them to Himself. May we all be as loving and as accepting as Barnabas and welcome them with open arms and work together with our team at church to help them grow.
Lord, let me be like Barnabas. Let me welcome those who earlier fought against You. Let me welcome those whose lives have undergone radical transformations. Use me to help those people feel accepted and welcomed into Your kingdom and Your church. Make me like Barnabas, I pray.