“but his disciples took him . . .” Acts 9:25
People are God’s preferred pathway. When God wants to reach others, He uses others to do so. We are His body. When God pursues the one who’s left the ninety-nine, He doesn’t send an email or text, He doesn’t put up a billboard, or pop-up ad, He sends a person.
At crucial moments in Saul’s conversion, people were instrumental in winning Saul to Christ and His church. It was Stephen’s prayer which first softened the rigid, religious heart of Saul. It was the forgiving spirit of Ananias who led him, consoled, and received him as a brother of the Lord Jesus. Now, here in these verses, we see the grace-hearted ministry of Barnabas, building a bridge between Saul and the early church.
Barnabas was the right person at the right place for the right time. When everyone else was steering clear of Saul, Barnabas took him by the hand and vouched for him. The example of Barnabas shows us the foundational ingredients that are required to be used effectively in the lives of others.
Believe the best in others
When others suspected Saul of being a spy, Barnabas insisted that Saul’s conversion was the real deal. When we believe the best of others, we bring out the best in others. No one believed more in the best of others than Jesus. It should be enough for His disciples to imitate their Master.
Never hold a person’s past against them
Barnabas never made Saul’s past an issue. People live with a heavy sense of condemnation for the choices they’ve made. It’s the nature of the heart of God that He has not held our sins against us. And we should never condemn people because they have failed.
It was the people in Saul’s life that gave him confidence and courage to live boldly. Saul went to the very synagogue where he had once opposed Stephen in order to show his life was changed.
Would those in your life say these two ingredients are true of you?