What I’m about to say is true for pastors, obviously, and it is true for every believer.
I’ve often heard it said that every person should have three kinds of people in their life: A Barnabas, a Silas and a Timothy. So, who are these people?
Silas – Silas is the guy that stuck with Paul through everything. Silas was his friend and ally. Silas was willing to be put in chains with Paul
Timothy – Paul’s son in the faith. According to Scripture, Paul mentored Timothy by pouring into his life, teaching him, instructing him and constantly encouraging him.
Then there’s Barnabas.
Barnabas and Paul’s relationship was a tricky one. After his conversion, Paul was still deep in his reputation as a Killer of Christians. But Barnabas vouched for him to all the Apostles at Jerusalem. (Acts 9:26) Barnabas put his rep on the line for Paul’s sake.When Barnabas was sent out to the church at Antioch, he took Paul along with him. Later, Barnabas wanted to add John Mark to the mix, but Paul thought that he, John Mark, was a liability. Consequently, Paul and Barnabas parted ways. Eventually, they reconciled.
The point is that, early in Paul’s work as an evangelist, when the way seemed like a dimly lit path, Barnabas was there to help Paul find his way.
So there you have it: Barnabas the Mentor, Silas the brother-in-arms, Timothy the Son in the Faith. That’s who you should have in your life. Barnabas the mentor who guides and directs you in your calling, Silas who links up with you, supports you even if he never receives any glory or spotlight, and Timothy who is guided by you.
I think the Silas role is the easiest to fill. If you’re working hard, you’re going to eventually run across someone who can be a Timothy to you. The Barnabas role is harder to find I think because so few people are willing to be Barnabas to others.
To that end, I’m calling on every pastor, preacher, evangelist, teacher, etc. (other Christians too… You aren’t exempt from this need.) to find someone you can be Barnabas too. Someone who is where you were in your past, and help them to get where you are. In the meantime, find someone to be Barnabas for you.
When you find someone, make mentoring them a priority, and spread the word with the #BarnabasInitiative hashtag on Twitter. Let people know that this is important. We have enough bad statistics. We need successes. For that we need mentors, friends and sons in the faith.
Join the Barnabas Initiative Today!