Have you ever needed a word of encouragement
Have you ever been the "new guy or girl on the block?"
Have you tried to be "in' with the 'in' crowd and been shunned?
As Christians we need to be above all that and welcome newbies to our world.
Do you have a warm smile and a handshake for visitors? Strangers are just friends we haven't met my grandmother used to say.
Be a Barnabas.
, who was also named Barnabas
by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement
Be the one that goes over an makes new people feel at home.
There have been times I was going through some rough stuff and sat in church crying my eyes out only to be looked at like something was "wrong" with me and totally avoided by people. God showed me, in that moment, I need to be looking out for other lonely, hurting people. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and offer a "hello", welcome, along with "How can I pray for you?"
People need prayer and are often reluctant to ask for it. We are Christ's' ambassadors. We are His hands, His eyes, His Words of peace to reach someone for Him.
Put up your "Holy Spirit antenna" and ask Him to guide you to others that need to be ministered to. In fact, YOU will be the one blessed the most when you do this!
When Paul was changed on the Damascus road none of the Christians believed he was converted. After all, he was one of the biggest persecutors of the church. Not until Barnabas stepped in as a "go between" did anyone change their opinions.
Acts 9:26-28 (NKJ)
Saul at Jerusalem
And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. 27
But Barnabas took him and brought him
to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28
So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out.
Then there was Mark.
[ Barnabas and Saul Appointed
] And Barnabas
and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.
A newbie. When the going got tough he bailed out. Paul didn't trust him. But who gave him another chance? Right! Barnabas.
Division over John Mark
Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see
how they are doing.” 37
Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38
But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia
, and had not gone with them to the work. 39
Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40
but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41
And he went through Syria and Cilicia
When Paul did not want to take Mark out again, Barnabas was the one that gave Mark a second chance. God blessed their ministry together. God used their division to reach MORE people for Christ. Remember Romans 8:28? But that's for another time.
Acts 13:42-44 (New King James Version)
Blessing and Conflict at Antioch
So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43
Now when the congregation
had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God.
it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26
men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They were called beloved, men who risked their life for the Gospel!
Give people the benefit of the doubt! Let someone have a first , or second chance for that matter! You may be pleasantly surprised at how they rise to the occasion because of the kindness and blessing you bestowed by trusting them.
When I was raising my children I would always say "Catch them doing something right." If you never allow people a chance they can never prove they can do something right!
Eventually Mark proved himself and Paul realised he was wrong and found Mark an important, helpful part of his ministry.
2 Timothy 4:11
Only Luke is with me. Get Mark
and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
I suggest you use wisdom and discernment but prayerfully, give people a chance to shine!
You may be amazed at how God uses them for His glory. YOU will be the person that gets the credit for allowing them the chance! What an opportunity for a great blessing AND a great discovery!
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