“…and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”
Barnabas recognized his limitations. He needed help.
“Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch.”
He knew Saul, an impetuous man, but a man who was completely sold out to serve the Lord.
“So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people.”
The young believers needed a mentor, a teacher, someone to love and nurture them. But most of all they needed a father to guide them through the searching, doubtful, and confused times. As Barnabas taught and fathered the new believers, Saul caught the significance of fathering. He would later write.
“Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 4:15
Fathering involves being present to encourage, to correct and to release into responsibility.
It involves dedicating time to those who hunger for the blessing of presence that only comes with individual attention.
As much as a child needs quality time with his parents, so a new believer needs quality time with a spiritual parent.
Fathers must invest time, the essential commodity needed to nurture and to grow a strong, mature loving member in the community.
In Antioch, fathering was evident.
These sons and daughters of Barnabas learned to love and honor one another to such an extent that the community had a special name for them: Christians.
“It was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”
A name that inspired honor and respect.
Is there evidence of fathering in our community?
Are we, as sons and daughters of the Living God, looked upon with honor and respect?
Have we been fathered in the faith?