Barnabas, A Friend To All
Good morning. Try to picture the scene in Jerusalem in the first century. A city with a normal population around 100,00 might swell to 500,000-1,000,000 during the feasts. These people, who had often traveled very far (think of the Ethiopian from Africa), brought sufficient provisions for the journey and time spent in Jerusalem. When they became Christians and needed to stay longer the need for provisions was urgent. There was already great camaraderie among these new Christians. While all of the Christians were sharing with each other (Acts 2:44-45), Barnabas and others who had real estate holdings led the way in friendly fellowship by selling them and giving the money to the Lord to help those who lacked.
Brothers and sisters, Christians should become the friendliest people on earth. I say, ‘become’, because that is obviously not the way all of us come into Christ. Sometimes we are self-absorbed and do not really even see those around us, let alone be friendly toward them. I speak from a personal short-coming. I must work continuously to be approachable and open to new people, to look outside of myself and to have a smile for others on my face and in my heart. Of course, it is always easy to be friendly with some. When personalities click, friendliness and friendship is a breeze.
The most wonderful thing about my efforts to be friendlier and the efforts of those in Acts 4 is that Christianity made the difference. Think about the fact that these folks who were selling their possessions had them for some time. There were people who lacked before, but the possessions were not sold for them. It was the new character of Christ these folks were putting on that changed them. Now, without regret, they would sacrifice great amounts for other people they barely knew because of their “like precious faith.” Barnabas may have been a gregarious person before, but Christianity spurred him to become “the son of consolation” (Acts 4:36). Let’s you and I follow the path of Barnabas