“When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy.” (Acts 11:23)
We read in Acts 11 that after Stephen’s death, some of the believers scattered and made it to Antioch in Syria, a couple hundred miles north of Jerusalem. They began preaching to the Gentiles with such great success that the leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas north to investigate. When he got there and saw how God was moving, “he was filled with joy and encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord” (Acts 11:23).
And we’re thinking, “Of course he’s joyful. Look at all the people getting saved and experiencing the power of God. THAT is a GREAT reason to be joyful.” You’re right. It is. So, are we?
Barnabas was not a Gentile and he was not from Antioch, yet he was exceedingly glad and joyful to hear about and finally witness the power of God working in so many people’s lives. Now, if I tell you that God moved at a church in your denomination so that one hundred people were saved in a revival and seventy-five of them were baptized in water last Sunday night, how many would rejoice in such a movement of God? What if I told you that same thing happened at two different churches in your city, neither of them the one you attend. Are you still as joyful, or are you thinking, “What about us? When is it our turn?” I’ll admit that I’ve thought those things myself. Continue Reading