A Good Man Goes Further
Barnabas was a wealthy man. How do we know this? He owned excess land. Only a few people in Judea owned enough land to live on, much less extra land he could sell. Most of the excess land of Judea was owned by the Romans. They had procured it due to the heavy taxation of the people, resulting in them having to sell land off to afford the taxes. So to be able to hold onto any amount of land meant you were well off.
Barnabas sacrificed this luxury and gave it to the church after a mighty move of God. Before this, Barnabas had been a devout Christian and more than likely had seen and followed Christ. He was a Levite, which meant he probably had grown up following the Law strictly. He was a good man. Yet, he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to give up his excess. There were many opportunities and blessing that resulted from this for Barnabas, though one stands out in his life.
Obtaining the Master's Mercy
Saul had just been converted and was looking to get involved in the church. However, the Christians were wary of him because he had severely persecuted the church for some time. Barnabas showed mercy on Saul and vouched for him, taking Saul under his wing. This was the same kind of mercy that Christ showed to the adulteress when everyone wanted to stone her. This was the same kind of mercy Christ exhibited when he chose to go to Zachius' house when everyone else shunned him. This is the kind of mercy that Christ showed to his disciples when they had abandoned him at the cross, welcoming them back in and commissioning them to go forth.
Barnabas had discovered what it meant to be merciful because he, like Christ, had shrugged off the excesses of life. By releasing himself from the weights of this life, he was able to see things with the same vision Christ had exhibited in his earthly ministry. It was something that Barnabas would consistently exhibit in his life.
Sacrificing To Obtain Mercy
We can have access to the same kind of mercy Jesus exhibited. We can be merciful as our father is merciful. All it takes is a sacrifice. We don't have to give up everything, but there are excesses and weights in our lives that, if we shrugged them off, would free us up to act with greater commitments to Christ. Greater commitment to Christ leads to being more like Christ, and that means we will be merciful like Christ.
For some of us, it may mean cutting back on our extracurricular activities and hobbies. For others, it might mean giving up some work commitments that are unnecessary. Others, it might be things we own that make us happy butt keep us occupied from living as Christ. Still others, it might be our time is spent doing things that keep us from fulfilling God's purpose in us. Whatever the reason or thing, if we can remove the excess from our lives, we will find ourselves more available to the cause of Christ. We'll start inviting people to church and teaching Bible Studies instead of living in our 'world'. We'll start helping feed the hungry and find shelter for the homeless instead of focusing on feeding our excesses and housing our hobbies. We'll become merciful like Christ, and we'll see our world changed as a result.
All it takes is a revelation of Christ and a willingness to sacrifice. Most of us have the revelation. Who of us will commitment to sacrifice? What will we give up to better emulate and represent Jesus in our communities?
Make a list of your hobbies and possessions
Which of them can you begin to sacrifice?
Commit to giving up at least one of each this month.
Replace your hobby time with witnessing to somebody
Replace your possession with prayer and Bible reading
See how doing this makes you feel and how effective you become in Christ.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.