Acts 9: 26 – 28 (NKJV)
“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. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. 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. So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming and going out.”
Imagine how Paul must have felt when he faced the apostles and they did not want anything to do with him. You would think they are the first people that must have believed and accepted Paul. They had seen the wonders that God could do and they had access to the Holy Spirit. I do not think they even prayed about whether they should embrace and let him into their group. He had seen Christ, he had vision and passion and was willing to lay down everything but the apostles did not accept him. He had a bad reputation but sometimes it is hard to convince people that you have changed.
Now comes a man called Barnabas. I guess he took time and talked to Saul who later became Paul. He got to know Paul and could see he had really encountered Christ. He became the bridge between Paul and the apostles. He took Saul and brought him to the disciples and therefore Saul was able to tell his story and his vision. Why did the Lord not tell the apostles the same things He told Ananias when He sent him to pray for Paul? The connection between Saul and Barnabas was important even as we later as the Holy Spirit had an assignment for the two. Read Acts 13: 1 – 3.
Barnabas was an encourager and he was a bridge builder. He bridged the gap between Saul and the apostles and brought unity in the process. We want God to send a Barnabas our way if we are in that place where there is a gap in our relationships or if the people who matter to us are not accepting us. Today let us not focus on us, but on others. Today I am encouraging you to be a Barnabas to someone. Ask God to show you someone who needs a bridge in their relationship with God or with church leaders or family. Be a bridge builder. Seek out the rejected, the lonely and those who have no-one and bring them in.
Find someone who has a vision, or someone who has burning passion but seems stuck. Encourage them. Take time to get to know someone who has really changed even though they might have a bad reputation. Stand with them and be the bridge they need to get to their next level.
Lord teach me to be a bridge builder and show me someone who needs me and how I can bridge their gap in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.