My Barnabas (Proverbs 27:17)

I have a dear brother in the Lord whom I have known since the first day of my medical residency. As physicians in training, we already shared a unique bond. But our relationship grew as we both went through our various life stages. Now, nearly 30 years after we first met, we meet regularly to encourage one another in our jobs, families, and most importantly, our spiritual relationship and walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We lost touch of each other for about 10 years, after we both completed our training. We became involved with our families and growing our medical practices. About 6 years ago, we began to meet on a regular basis but our fellowship was not as close and as sweet as it once was. But God intervened and rekindled our fellowship in a most dramatic fashion. During one of the darkest moments in my life, he showed up in my office at 8AM. Surprised but pleased by his visit, I asked him what brought him to my office that morning.

“I don’t know. I pass by your office every morning on my way to work. But this morning, I felt God speaking to me and telling me to stop and see you. Is everything okay?”

At that moment, I opened up and shared with him the turmoil that was surrounding my life, all because of my sinning. I expected him to be judgmental but with a kind look he said, “Paul, we are all sinners. I’m a sinner. This is why Jesus Christ came to save us. I love you and Jesus loves you. Let me pray for you.”

He is my Barnabas.

The Apostle Paul relied upon his relationship with Barnabas as he spread the Gospel to the known world. It was Barnabas who had the courage to first present Paul to the rest of the Apostles. All were afraid of him since it was only a short time since he was actively rounding up, persecuting, and imprisoning all Christians as blasphemers and heretics. Paul met Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and although his life was dramatically and forever changed, there were many who did not believe his conversion was authentic. Barnabas was the only one who stood and vouched for sincerity of Paul.

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

The Bible reminds us of the importance of having the sweet fellowship of another believer. God uses others to sharpen or bring to clear focus the issues that we may not see in ourselves. He uses others to be a source of encouragement and comfort. And He uses others to help each of us to become more like His Son, Jesus Christ.

Do you have a Barnabas in your life?

Allow God to sharpen your life with the sweet fellowship of another believer.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.