“Barnabas . . . sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:37
Whole life generosity. That’s the life we are called to live. Inside of every Christian is a God-inspired desire to be generous. Salvation places within us a drive to live the example of Jesus, selflessness and sacrifice. We are all on a spiritual journey and our journey toward Christlikeness is a journey of giving. It’s our life filled with growth and movement. We transition away from the old and towards the new. As we progress, we move forward in our generosity, step-by-step, from season to season, learning to give more and give sacrificially. Thankfully, we are not left to learn giving on our own.
Barnabas is singled out here, most likely to raise our awareness of what it looks like to be a generous follower of Jesus. Barnabas is there to remind us of the courage it takes to follow through in our good intentions. Many Christian’s plans of giving break down at the price of unselfishness.
In the New Testament a person’s character was expressed in their name. Barnabas’ name is his role in the life of the church. The name Barnabas means ‘son of exhortation.’ He had the ability to encourage others in their faith. He was gifted to stir up the believing energy of the believing community.
He was a Levite. His connection to the tribe of Levi, with the temple worship, made accession from it significant. It showed how Jesus’ new way of living was invading old systems and was creating converts from a group deeply opposed to it. The generosity of Jesus can soften the most religious heart. Barnabas is there to remind us generosity can happen in any heart.
Barnabas’ gracious act of generosity is a witness to the depth and genuineness of character and faith. He sold his land and brought the proceeds to the assembly and laid it at the apostles’ feet as a gesture of his belief in their authority to administer the gifts as they thought best. His decision was born from the impulse of the heart-seeking Jesus.
Today listen to the voice of the spirit of generosity. Don’t over think it. Just give.