When I realized I was made to not only serve in the church, but to serve others as the church, connecting with people became paramount. You can’t serve without connecting. And who you connect with will change the stories you tell tomorrow. This has been true throughout history. Just consider the man who wrote more than one third of the New Testament, the apostle Paul. Paul wasn’t always a Christian. Before he was a follower of Jesus, he was Saul from a city called Tarsus, an angry guy who persecuted and killed Christians. If you don’t like Jesus groupies, you’d have loved Saul. But after taking the lives of those who believed Jesus was raised from the dead, Paul became one of them himself.
His transformation was so big, so radical, so life-changing that Saul (who was renamed Paul) immediately wanted to tell others about Jesus. The problem was that no Christians trusted him and for obvious reasons. The book of Acts puts it simply: When [Saul] came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. Acts 9:26 NIV. You can’t blame the disciples for their skepticism. I wouldn’t want the guy who killed Christians last month leading my Bible study! Would you?
Paul had a problem. He lacked credibility with other Christians. So Paul reached out to anyone who would give him a chance to share his newfound passion. Paul’s decision to connect didn’t just change his story; it changed history. You see, Paul was one friend away from altering the course of his destiny. And that friend was a man named Barnabas.
You may be one friendship away from changing your story. Today you’ll read about when Barnabas risked taking Paul to the apostles, who were the leaders of the people Paul had been trying to kill in his previous life. What happened? Paul’s new friend Barnabas staked his reputation on Paul. And because of Barnabas, the other disciples gave Paul a chance. The rest is history. You may be one friendship away from changing your story.
You’re one friend away from a better marriage. You’re one confession away from overcoming an addiction. You’re one conversation away from getting in better shape. You’re one mentor away from understanding your gifts and becoming a better leader.
Ask yourself: What do I need to do to connect with the right people? Is there anyone I need to disconnect from?
“When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.”
Acts 9:26-28 NASB1995
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Proverbs 13:20 NASB1995