Second Chances

Franklin Gothic Medium –
Acts 11:19-30, “19Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. 20Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
 22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
 25Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
 27During this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) 29The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. 30This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.”
Good old Barnabas. Sometimes I think with all the focus on the Apostles, Paul, and Timothy, we miss out on what Barnabas’ contribution was to the early church. His name was really Joseph, but the apostles called him Son of Encouragement. When we meet him in Acts 4, the last few verses tell us that he sold a field he owned and gave the money – all of it – to the apostles. Then Barnabas stood up for Saul when he – as a new believer – met the apostles for the first time. Barnabas sticks by Saul’s side as becomes the great Paul that books are written about.
Eventually, somebody came through those church doors in Antioch and laid down his opinion that all Christians ought to be circumcised. There was only one thing to do, take the matter before the council. So Barnabas and Paul did just that. It’s easy to imagine Barnabas doing all the talking, after all, he did give a sizeable donation to the church not too long ago. Soon the matter was settled, no circumcision required. They took that message back to Antioch along with a couple of brothers. Then one day Paul decided to go back and see how the people were doing that they had met along the way. Paul and Barnabas couldn’t get along on who was to go with them, so the two parted company.
The Bible doesn’t tell us much about what happened afterward, only that the person in said argument was John/Mark who had abandoned Paul earlier when the going got rough. He was also Barnabas’ cousin, which explains the second chance from from Barnabas. The last mention was a certain dinner party where Barnabas and a couple of Apostles acted hypocritacally against a group of gentiles there. Paul set him straight.
Outside of the Bible, it is said that Barnabas was caught preaching and subjected to all sorts of tortures before he was martyred. His cousin John/Mark put his body in a cave and piled up stones its entrance.
You know what I take out of Barnabas’ whole story? He did alot by Paul’s side, but when he couldn’t resolve his argument he missed out on the oppurtunity to live up to his name. Timothy whose name means ‘honoring God’ became like a son to Paul in the faith. You see, I too have a cousin who is nothing but trouble (actually, I’m pretty sure that quite a few of my cousins are troublemakers). He’s burnt through his second chance, used up his third, thrown away his fourth, and has worn our patience thin in the process. Bringing him along a mission trip is asking for trouble. Then again, I find it lacking of Paul who got the biggest second chance ever to fail to give one to an immature brother. What’s your take?

...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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