Barnabus was an early-church hero. He was greatly used by God in the days of the church recorded in Acts. In fact, he was the partner of Paul the Apostle! The 2 of them served as the first missionary team ever sent out by the church!
We learn a lot from the first time Barnabus is introduced to us in Scripture. This man who would go on to be greatly used by God is first seen as a faithful local church member! Just doing the daily church-community thing: in submission to his local church leadership, encouraging people, and giving to the needy through his local church!
"Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabus (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet." Acts 4:36-37
This missionary hero is here introduced as an ordinary, faithful church member. Praise God! Many believers want to be used greatly by God (and that is a good desire). But too often the path to greatness in his kingdom is perceived to be running off and leaving the church; impatiently starting ministry before we are ready; unwisely disdaining God's path to ministry (you guessed it - the local church).
Yet here is Barnabus. Humble enough to serve under the apostle's leadership (laying his money at their feet as a symbol of submission and obedience). Generous enough to sell his possessions to meet the needs of fellow church members. Joyful enough to go around encouraging people until they can't help but nickname him 'son of encouragement!' And patient enough to remain in faithful service to his church until the Holy Spirit said (in a church meeting!) "Send out Saul and Barnabus" (Acts 13).
While he was serving in the Jerusalem church, he was a faithful member, doing his part. And when the apostles needed a faithful man to send to the growing church in Antioch, they sent Barnabus (Acts 11:22). He relocated to Antioch, dove right in and served the church there. And God used this man in the spreading of the gospel to the nations. His ministry continued to grow as he remained faithful where he was.
Let's learn from the example of the son of encouragement!
Are you in it for the long haul in your local church community?
Lord help us endure in faithfulness right where you've planted us!