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

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