Call Me Barnabus

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37

32 The community of believers was one in heart and mind. None of them would say, “This is mine!” about any of their possessions, but held everything in common. 33 The apostles continued to bear powerful witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and an abundance of grace was at work among them all. 34 There were no needy persons among them. Those who owned properties or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds from the sales, 35 and place them in the care and under the authority of the apostles. Then it was distributed to anyone who was in need.

36 Joseph, whom the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (that is, “one who encourages”), was a Levite from Cyprus. 37 He owned a field, sold it, brought the money, and placed it in the care and under the authority of the apostles. (Acts 4:32-37, Common English Bible).

Before someone reads this and storms my office this morning (or afternoon or evening), thinking I want them to sell their house and all their stuff and take the money and give it to the church, that isn’t my point and isn’t the point of the lesson. Unless, that is, what God is calling to you. And, I would submit to you, if you are coming storming into my office, it might just be, the passage bothers you because that is the very thing God is calling you to do. But I digress.

Jesus didn’t say to the rich young man, “Go sell all you have and bring the money to me.” He said, “Give the money to the poor and come and follow me.” Following Jesus is more important than what we give. But (you should know, by the very nature of what I have written thus far, a “but” was coming), Jesus also knows, if we have given ourselves fully to him, our money and our stuff will come with us.

For many years, I have found the meanings behind names interesting. My name, for example, comes from the American, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish. According to the American and Welsh, Keith means “From the woods.” But the Scottish and Irish say Keith means, “From the Battlefield.” There are some other meanings including wind and wood.

The name Joseph, coming from verse 36 is increase or addition. The name Joseph is among the most common in the Bible. Joseph is mentioned 200 times in the Old Testament, the most common of which is Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery in the book of Genesis. It is mentioned 35 times in the New Testament with Joseph the earthly father of Jesus is best known.

Might that be the reason the apostles started calling this particular Joseph, Barnabus? Luke does find it important to tell us the meaning behind the name Barnabus, “one who encourages.” I like that name, a lot. Well, I like the meaning behind it.

But, it seems to me, one could do worse than carry the name Barnabus. I don’t mind being “From the woods.” I am far less crazy about being “From the battlefield.” But what I really like the idea of is being “one who encourages.” Yes, I like that. And, the world could use a lot more of that whether our name is Barnabus or not.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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