As I study the life of Barnabas documented in the book of Acts, one thing really becomes evident. This guy always gives an “all-out” effort. Don’t you appreciate being around someone who “puts it all on the line?” Their commitment is contagious and edifying yet humbling.
In Acts 4, Barnabas’ life was highlighted to the church because of his encouragement and a gift of proceeds from the sale of a parcel of land. Let’s stop and take a look at Barnabas’ gift that he “laid at the apostle’s feet.” It was explained in v. 36 that Barnabas was a native of Cyprus. The parcel of land that was sold by Barnabas would have been in Cyprus. For him to sell this parcel he would have gone to Cyprus to sell the land. Barnabas would have walked 81 miles to board a ship for another 173 miles. Then, he would have taken the return trip. Let me remind you, these were not scenic, aesthetic, secure walking trails but dirty, dusty, dangerous paths. And the ship ride would not have been luxurious for sure. His trip would have been a minimum of 508 miles! What an effort and a commitment. Barnabas was “all-out.”
In Acts 11, believers who had been forced out of Jerusalem because of persecution preached to Greek speaking non-Jews in Antioch (225 miles from Jerusalem). The idea of non-Jews (Gentiles) getting saved becoming a part of the church was still foreign to the Apostles. So, they needed someone who they trusted to validate what was happening. And, this person would need to speak Greek. Guess who was selected to go to Antioch? You guessed it, Barnabas. So, off he goes walking. This would have taken him a minimum of 22 days, but the Apostles knew that Barnabas would go “all-out.” They were not disappointed. 23 When Barnabas came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, 24 for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord (Acts 11).
However, Barnabas knew his gifts and limitations recognizing someone was needed who could present these new believers the depth to truly build Christ’s church. So, what did he do? He walked 87 miles to Tarsus to find Saul (Paul). He found him and brought him back to Antioch. The result of his “all out” effort? 26 and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11).
In Acts 13 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. It doesn’t surprise me that God would choose Barnabas to accompany Saul (Paul) for the first international church planting and building missionary trip. Why? The guy always gave an “all-out” effort.
How does this apply to you and me? Luke 9 23 And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” What is described by Jesus is for each of us to “go all-out” laying everything at His feet following Him with total obedience. What He calls you to do may be “small potatoes” compared to what Barnabas achieved. It may be serving your wife and kids, coaching a team in a Godly way, serving neighbors, supporting the poor, teaching a class, fostering a child who may feel hopeless, giving a bold witness, loving a child who does not have a dad, helping others with construction projects, giving, etc. He will show you. When He does, “go all-out!”