Sunday, February 16, 2014

Watch Me Live My Life

Over this past summer while serving at the YMCA on the Impact Service Project I was on (see post titled "This Summer"), I had the opportunity to serve children from ages five through eight years old. At first things started off pretty slowly being with that group, but by the end of the week both the kids and the camp counselors I was serving with had warmed up to me. One camper in particular did just that. In the beginning, she would tell me short stories of her helping her mother with things she needed at home. By the end of the summer, the girl had began to say and do the same things that I was doing. I was able to share the gospel with her over the course of the summer, but just being around her and other campers as well made me more aware of what type of influence and impact I may have on others. 

You never know how influential you may be in someone's life, that's why it's so important to watch not only what you do and say momentarily, but guard your attitude, motives, and demeanor on a consistent basis. One of my favorite persons in the Bible would have to be Barnabas, demonstrating this very thing.  

Joseph, named Barnabas by the apostles, is mainly talked about in the Book of Acts (Acts 4:36-37). He was a Levite and of priestly lineage, so he was very learned in the Old Testament scriptures. Despite his great knowledge, Barnabas didn't elevate himself above any of the apostles or fellow Christians. Because of his humble and encouraging nature and support for the spreading of the Gospel, the apostles actually gave him this name, which translates to "Son of Encouragement." How cool is that?!

Although not frequently mentioned in the Book of Acts, Barnabas had a huge impact, larger than what he could have imagined and larger than what is actually recognized by Christians today, and it's good to not some cool facts about Barnabas. But first I have to talk about a guy by the name of Saul, Saul of Tarsus. Saul was an Roman authorized persecutor of the growing Church (called "the Way" sometimes in the Book of Acts). Traveling on his way to Damascus to embark on another quest to hunt out and kill "men and women who belonged to the Way," a bright light surround Saul, blinding him, and the voice of Jesus spoke to him and told him to find Ananias, another believer. Being taught by Ananias for a short time, Saul proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.

Ananias told the apostles about Saul's conversion, but they didn't believe him. I mean, would you? Would you believe that your worst enemy, someone that's been out to destroy you, would suddenly start supporting the cause they were initially trying to end that you were spreading? This is were Barnabas comes in the picture. Barnabas, seeing Saul being rejected by his now new family of believers in Christ, takes Paul by the hand, walks up to the apostles and "explained to them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road to Damascus and that He had talked to him," leading to Saul speaking boldly in the name of Jesus. 

More than likely, Barnabas was an early church leader, and by standing up to support Saul, he was really putting his reputation on the line. By stepping out of his comfort zone, Barnabas really displayed to the apostles, Christians then and now what Jesus meant in Mark 12:29-31 and Matthew 22:36-40.

Barnabas continued to step out of his "comfort zone" for Christ's sake. As the rest of the Book of Acts shows, Barnabas accompanied Saul, who was later renamed by God as Paul, on several mission trips to spread the message of the Gospel to both Jews and non-Jews alike. Because of the great influence that Barnabas had in Paul's life, 13 letters were written by Paul to various churches during that time for encouragement and correction, and is still having a huge lasting influence to this day.

Like I said, you never know how influential you are in someone's life, and I'll never know what impact I've had on the little girl from this past summer. That's why I've decided to officially rename my blog to "Watch Me Live My Life". The focus isn't on me at all - that's not the point or goal of why I've chosen this name. My hope and goal is that through writing out experiences in my life - both good and bad - that you'll deepen your relationship with God and with others around you, use the gifts He's given you for His glory, and be motivated to do what God has called all of us to do. With all of that said, welcome to my "new" blog, and "Watch Me Live My Life" as I follow Christ!