You are welcome to our today’s topic. It can also read as: serving God intensely; or wonderfully, it can also read: serving God sacrificially.
They all fit in very well with our today’s quotation and discussion. Serving our Lord Father God Almighty always goes with a lot of challenges. The more determined we are to achieve greater things in the church, the more challenges we are likely to face. With a faint heart, we get discouraged and quit on the way. Our today’s quotation says “so then my brothers, and sisters, because of God’s great mercy to us, I appeal to you; offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to Him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” It therefore goes without saying that, serving our God is a form of worshipping Him, God Almighty Jehovah Jireh. God wants to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, dedicated to Him as we serve only Him the Most High God. This also means to give up our desires, only to serve our energy for serving our Lord, Father God of Israel. This is to put our resources at God’s disposal, only trusting in the Lord for our needs and wants.
In discussing this topic, we shall be at liberty to look at the life of Barnabas, a man of God, how he served his God, diligently, purposefully and eagerly. Barnabas was also called Joseph. His name Barnabas, means “Encourager.” He earned a nickname “Son of encouragement.” He was like an energizer to his colleagues, who formed a preaching team, during the time of the early church. It is said that, Barnabas encouraged his colleagues to soldier on, even when the situation was pretty bad for the disciples to go round and preach the Word. When he encouraged his fellow believers to preach, more non believers flocked to become believers.
In his effort to lead by example, Barnabas was the first believer to sell his possessions to help Christians in Jerusalem. Even though Barnabas was an Apostle, he was not of the among the original twelve. His positive attitude towards God’s work is without doubt very much worth emulating. Apostle Paul described the manner of Barnabas as follows “When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessings, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in the faith. And many people were brought to the Lord (Acts 11:23 – 24). Barnabas was the first disciple to accompany Apostle Paul on a mission. We therefore, know that Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about, when he described Barnabas in such a manner.
According to Apostle Paul, Barnabas was a man of God, who was prepared to eagerly serve God wholeheartedly. Barnabas was the first disciple to escort Apostle Paul to Jerusalem to go and meet Apostle Peter who was the team leader of the early church and other disciples. That was at a time when everybody else feared to meet Apostle Paul, because of his past history (Acts 9:27). The gesture of agreeing to escort Apostle Paul was highly appreciated, causing Barnabas and Apostle Paul becoming very good friends. Barnabas was quick to see truth in whatever Paul said about his conversion by Christ on his way to Damascus.
Barnabas did not find it fair to pass judgment on people based on their historical background. He had the wisdom of God to look at people in their present situation, and provide support and encouragement for new converts live a Christlike life. In that meeting in Jerusalem, it was agreed that Apostle Paul was going to concentrate preaching the Word to Gentiles and Peter and other disciples to the Jews. Remember that both Peter and Paul were Jews. At the meeting, Barnabas demonstrated very clearly that his character was to encourage every willing soul to preach the Word of God. He was truly an encourager. It was the desire of Barnabas to purposefully continue serving God with great might, effort and vigour, that was so, because after meeting in Jerusalem, Barnabas was just too eager to join Paul on his preaching errands. Let us search ourselves and see if we are eager to preach the word of God as did Barnabas.
Barnabas was indeed a very serious minded person, when it came to serving our God. He was so committed to preaching Christ Jesus at every opportune time. When he went to Antioch, he discovered that, there was so much work to be done, in order to turn people from darkness to light, he had to seek the assistance of Apostle Paul, so as to reach as many people as possible (Acts 11:22 – 26).
Barnabas and Paul stayed together in Antioch for one full year. Because of their great actions together, it was in Antioch that believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26). It was because of what they did, which was Christ like, that they were called Christians. They were named, they did not name themselves. Our deeds and our words to people will determine as to whether we are medical doctors, structural engineers or Pastors in Christ’s church. I hope we are like Barnabas who was ready to ask for the support of his colleague in Christ, to help in carrying out an important function in order to serve God better.
Barnabas greatly desired to work with Paul on missionary journeys. It was like Paul and Barnabas were encouraging each other in their quest to please their Master in heaven, Lord Jesus. Wherever Barnabas and Peter went, people were able to see the presence of the Holy Spirit, that they did because they witnessed the great works that were performed by two men of God. It is actually very easy for both believers or non believers to tell us to whether their local church leader has some element of the Holy Spirit in him or her or not. Pretenders are eventually discovered.
Believers should not tackle matters of the church with lukewarm water like attitude. It is not advisable to do that because our Lord, Father God Almighty, Jehovah Jireh, is against it (Rev. 3:15-16). Our Lord God Almighty wants us to be hot when carrying our church activities. We should be strong and steadfast. Barnabas tackled church work really hot, and not cold. The commendation of Paul to Barnabas partly described Him as a “good man.” Some of the qualities defining a good man in the Christian fraternity are: man of one wife; peaceable, compassionate, full of love, humble, patient, ability to endure, with one purpose in life, to serve God Almighty diligently, with the aim of bringing people to Christ, and to be salt of the earth and a light that is not hidden under the table (Matthew 5:13-14). Whatever which is good, is appreciated and admired, with human beings, the person who is said to be good is a role model in every manner of Christian life. A believer must have faith in our Lord God almighty, so that when we pray we shall be sure to receive (Hebrews 11:1). No one can please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). It is a good thing for believers to be filled with joy, when they see non believers converted to Christianity, and so receive salvation. This is a good thing because salvation is deliverance from the power and effects of sin, danger or difficulty by God’s intervention. His intervention, is having mercy upon us when we believe, because of His unfailing love upon us. By God’s compassionate love, God blots out the stain of our sins, He purifies us from sin. When we believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we receive a new heart from our Creator. (Psalm 51:1-19). That was the reason why Barnabas was filled with joy when he saw a number of new converts.
It is easy to conclude that the reputation of Barnabas was that of a man who loved his God. (Deut 6:5). A believer who loves God is a prayerful person. Always wanting to be in the house of the Lord, praising and worshipping Jehovah Jireh, the only God, King of heavens, after all He is the Supreme God. (Daniel 4:17).
Another point to remember is that, Barnabas added value to his Christian life by loving other people as he loved himself. An important Christ’s Commandment (Mark 12:31). Barnabas loved Jesus because he obeyed his Master’s commandment. (John 14:21). The reputation of Barnabas, should be our reputation as we continue to serve our Lord, God Almighty. We should also make it our purpose to do what is right, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of others. And when we do wrong we should confess our sins ( Isa 1:18-19). It is a good thing to decide to be like Barnabas who gave himself a good record of hard work. Showed obedience to his Master, and a character of endurance. Let us search ourselves and see if we can fit in the description by Apostle Paul on Barnabas.
May the Lord God Almighty save Zambia from all intentions of chaos and atrocities of war as may be planned by those guided by satan. Praise be to God, the only God, for there is no God like Him. (Micah 7:18). Others may worship their gods, but we will worship and obey the Lord God Almighty Jehovah Jirey. And let God’s love flow to every corner of our beloved Zambia. Forever and ever, we pray in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.