Going to look for Saul1
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.
- Acts 11:25-26
We don’t know why Barnabas went to look for Saul.
Tarsus was 123 miles from Antioch … not far but also not close. Saul had a tumultuous reputation, having been driven out of both Damascus and Jerusalem by the violent responses people had to his preaching. But Barnabas and Saul had spent some time together in Jerusalem and Barnabas had vouched for Saul to the other apostles.
We don’t know why Barnabas went to look for Saul, but we know the fruit of their partnership. The church in Antioch thrived in the light of their influence. The followers of Jesus started to develop their own, unique, identifiable community – not Jewish or Greek but multiethnic and, therefore, something new – a Christian community. Eventually, Barnabas and Saul would plant churches together across the Mediterranean basin and Saul (better known as the Apostle Paul) would write a good portion of the New Testament.
Barnabas’ going to look for Saul shows us something about Barnabas’ character. He wasn’t hogging the spotlight for himself. He knew he didn’t know everything and that he couldn’t do everything by himself. He could spot and remember the gifting of others. He was strategic enough to take a break from his work to pull together the help he and his community needed to thrive.
Who are the great partners that God has brought into your life – at work, at home, in ministry, for projects? How has your life been enriched by these kinds of friendships and partnerships?