Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. Acts 9:27
While growing up, I was painfully shy. I wanted to help make a difference in the church; in fact, I felt called to make a difference. But I had no idea how to begin. One of my high school youth leaders helped. After our group had gone to a big youth convention, she picked (shoved, pushed, and prodded) me to talk about our experience in front of our home church. Speaking to 700 people was a big, scary thing for me.
Imagine the turn in Paul's life. He'd been hunting Christians, and then the next thing they knew was that he was trying to join them. But they weren't going to be suckered, in case he was bluffing. Only through the help of Barnabas was Saul able to enter into community.
New and old churches have an urgent need for Barnabas-like people who take the initiative to welcome and befriend newcomers!
Who was your Barnabas?
A woman who attends our church had been coming for a short while when she spied a shy teenage girl. She took this youth group "straggler" under her gentle wing. She poured life into her. And when the young woman's mother died, she walked beside her.
Saul was known as an official who could drag Christians off to prison and possible execution. But God used unsung believers to bring him into community.
Lord, help us see folks sitting on the sidelines, waiting for encouragement. Use us to provide it. Help us to make friends with them and help them fulfill their calling. Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!