Be a Barnabas; Pursue a Paul; Train a Timothy

Be a Barnabas
Joseph, a descendant of Levi, had been born on the island of Cyprus. The apostles called him Barnabas, which means “a person who encourages. He sold his field and gave the money to the apostles for the work of God.[1]
He was a prophet and a teacher (Acts 13.1). When all the disciples were afraid of Paul after his conversion, it was Barnabas that took him and explained his conversion and verified his testimony.[2]
Here is the kind of person Barnabas was: When Barnabas was sent to Antioch, he was full of joywhen he saw the grace God gave to them. He continuously exhorted (warned, urged, and encouraged) them all to cleave unto and remain faithful to and devoted to the Lord with [resolute and steady] purpose of heart. For he was a good man [good in himself and also at once for the good and the advantage of other people], full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit and full of faith (of his belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation). After indicating Barnabas continuously exhorted the Church at Antioch, it says, And a large company was added to the Lord.[3]That’s what happens when people like Barnabas are around.
Barnabas was led by the Holy Spirit to leave Antioch then and go to Tarsus to look for Saul. He brought Paul back to Antioch and they taught the Church there for a year. The disciples ere first called Christians there, leading us to believe that he was a great example of looking like Christ.[4]
Barnabas looked for ways to encourage the faith of others. When he wanted to take John Mark with him and Paul on a missionary trip, Paul did not want to take him. Paul was probably thinking about John Mark’s inexperience and his failure in the past when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.[5]Paul and Barnabas disagreed so sharply that they parted ways. Barnabas took John Mark to Cyprus, and Paul selected Silas instead and went through Syria and Cilicia.[6]Apparently, Barnabas was a good tutor to his nephew, because later we see that Paul says that he is a great help and profitable to him in the ministry,[7] sends greetings to the Colossians from Mark and instructions from Paul to welcome him,[8] and sends greetings from him to Philemon,[9]referring to him as a follow worker and fellow labourer.  With someone like Barnabas walking alongside him, John Mark was able to overcome some of his immaturity and grow in Christ.
A Barnabas is our spiritual peer, a friend in the faith, someone we co-labor with and someone who will be a source of fellowship, protection, and encouragement. We need to do the same things for them. We need someone that knows our heart and knows when our balloon is losing helium and starting to sink. Someone with the ability to infuse us with more helium so we can stay afloat during tough times. The word encourage is from two words that mean to put in heart, or put in courage. Do you have a Barnabas in your life?
Pursue a Paul
When I purchase a product, even if it isn’t too costly, I depend on reviews from others who have used the product before. That helps me be confident the product will be the quality it says it is, fit correctly, and be a purchase I won’t regret. Hearing what others have to say can also uncover unforeseen problems.
When I travel, I research to be sure we go to restaurants with good reviews from those who have dined there before. We look at tour reviews to see comments of travelers who went on the tours before us. We don’t want to waste time and money by taking chances!
Pulling up a map program helps us to foresee traffic hindrances and road blockages that would hinder us getting to our destination in a timely fashion without unexpected problems.
In the same way, it is so important to have mentors in our faith: those who have walked before us, who can help us uncover unforeseen problems, and save us time and energy in learning tough lessons ourselves. In fact, the Bible tells us, Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.[10]
We are told to Remember [our] leaders, who spoke the word of God to [us]. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.[11]
In community with other believers, one of the things we learn is that God never intended for us to figure everything out on our own. Scripture is replete with examples of leadership, friendship, mentoring, and being mentored. We see the downfall of fools who despise wisdom and will not hear instruction throughout Proverbs and in the lives of those like Rehoboam,[12]Nabal,[13]Asa,[14] Saul,[15]and others.
We need a “Paul” in our lives so that we realize that there is still somewhere we need to get to in our walk with Christ. Someone who has blazed the path before us and knows some of the obstacles we will be facing and how best to overcome them.
A scorner has no love for one who rebukes him; neither will he go to the wise [for counsel].[16]
A stubborn fool considers his own way the right one, but a person who listens to advice is wise.[17]
I have been blessed with many mentors in the faith that have given me words of wisdom that helped me avoid problems in my life and helped me find solutions instead. When facing challenges, I have looked to find others who have gone before me successfully, and asked them what they did to conquer the same challenges that I am facing to come out victoriously. Although some of their advice wasn’t applicable to my unique situation, more often than not much wisdom helped me create and live out solutions, take away excuses, and empower me to get through.
A Paul needs to be pursued.Make time to be accountable to someone. Make time to pick their brain and ask them questions. Make time to observe a mentor when applicable or appropriate. Write down goals with them and make tangible steps to achieve them. Discuss strategies and possibilities with them; they will surely save you some steps and add wisdom to your direction.
When pursuing a mentor, set up a schedule on what your plan is to meet or talk with them. Some challenges may require once a day contact, some once a week, some once a month, and other times even meeting with someone once can help you. Stick to a time schedule so neither of you give up on your intended meetings because of your inability to keep to a schedule.
We can all benefit from being lifelong learners. Make sure you are utilizing the wonderful tool of having a mentor encourage you through your unique challenges and obstacles in life.  Do you have a Paul in your life?
Train a Timothy
One of the things we are commanded to do is to make disciples and teach.[18]  We are to declare [God’s] strength to this generation and [His] power to all who are to come.[19]
In fact, we are literally stewards over the comfort we have received when we suffer.    
He comforts us whenever we suffer. That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God. Because Christ suffered so much for us, we can receive so much comfort from him. Besides, if we suffer, it brings you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, we can effectively comfort you when you endure the same sufferings that we endure. We have confidence in you. We know that as you share our sufferings, you also share our comfort.[20]
We are told that, The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.[21]
We need a “Timothy” in our lives so that we can share the grace we have received in our trials with them so that they will be equipped to get through their trials. We need to realize that even while “in process” of our own growth, we still have something to share with others. Others can benefit from some of the lessons we may have had to learn the hard way, and we can share hope and help to others that may be a life raft to them when they feel as if they are sinking.
When you are training someone you also accept responsibility to live up to the standard God has given you. You become more aware of your attitudes and the way you live, knowing that others are watching and learning from them. You seek to win victory over weak spots in your character because you want to be a good example. We want to model life-long learning to others, making people more effective on both sides of that training.
The Gospel gives great examples of being good leaders. The heart of Paul as a leader is expressed in his letter to the Thessalonians:  Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.[22]He told the Corinthian church: Imitate me as I imitate Christ.[23]Paul said that the Corinthians were a …letter of recommendation written in our hearts that everyone knows and reads. It’s clear that you are Christ’s letter, written as a result of our ministry. You are a letter written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, a letter written not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.[24]
Paul realized the importance of leaders and the example they are. He told Titus to be sure the older women were good examples: Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,…[25]
Paul instructed the Romans that, Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”[26]
Although Timothy was a lot younger and inexperienced, Paul took time to father him in his faith. Paul poured into Timothy, and God used Timothy in a mighty way despite his young age. Just like Paul, we all need a “Timothy” in our lives too. We all need to be pouring into someone not only for their benefit and growth but for our benefit and growth as well. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, there is always someone that will benefit from you taking the time to pour into his or her life. Think of all the people who have poured into your life and how they have helped you along the path.
Paul took the time to instruct Timothy: Don’t let anyone look down on you for being young. Instead, make your speech, behavior, love, faith, and purity an example for other believers.[27]While modeling life and training Timothy, Paul imparted to him by four different ways that he brings out in Philippians 4.9:  Practice what you have learned and received and heardand seen in me, and model your way of living on it, and the God of peace (of untroubled, undisturbed well-being) will be with you. If others are to learn, then you are to teach; if others are to receive, then you are to give; if others are to hear, then you are to speak, and if others are to see then you are to do. As you teach, give, speak and live the principles you are teaching, you become more accountable to live up to those standards. As you speak, your own faith grows by hearing, strengthening your resolve and commitment. It is a healthy accountability. You join with Paul, increasing in discipline, …for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit].[28]Your joy comes as you see those being trained by you walking and living up to the truth.[29]
Be sure you then seek out someone you can bless as you have been blessed: your own personal “Timothys” that you can pour into as a Paul.  Your joy will abound when you see the difference you can make in the lives of others. Your own faith will grow as you encourage others too. Do you make the time to have a “Timothy” or two in your life?
Much of the New Testament is written to Churches. Every time the Bible says one another, it is referring to what church members should look like to the world in order to display His glory. Growing in relationships with other believers shows the grace and glory of God to love others, forgive, selflessly give, and transform lives.
God’s Word is for His glory and for our good. When we learn to trust Him and obey His word, He instructs [us] and teach[es] [us] in the way [we] should go,[30]and He has given us everything we need for life and for godliness. This power was given to us through knowledge of the One Who called us by His own glory and integrity.[31]
If every person would seek to be a Barnabas, pursue a Paul and train a Timothy, we could always realize the process the Lord has wondrously given us to grow as people and believers. We will never lack purpose nor encouragement in our lives.
We will realize the comfort and consolation of having a “Barnabas” to walk through life with who empowers, encourages and understands, and who we can be an intimate integral part of their lives as well by empowering, encouraging and understanding. We will not become proud, realizing we are still “in training” under a “Paul” at all times. We will learn that the things that have helped us through life we can steward and pass on to others, as we train a “Timothy” – knowing that we can still have something to give even though we haven’t yet “arrived.”

[1] Acts 4.36-37 (GW)
[2]Acts 9.26-27
[3] Acts 11.22–24 (AMP)
[4]Acts 11.25-26
[5]Acts 13.13
[6]Acts 15.37-39
[7] 2 Timothy 4.11
[8]Colossians 4.10
[9]Philemon 24
[10]Proverbs 11.14 (MSG)
[11]Hebrews 13.7
[12] 1 Kings 12.8
[13] 1 Samuel 25.2-11
[14] 2 Chronicles 16.9
[15] 1 Samuel 16.18
[16] Proverbs 15.12 (AMP)
[17] Proverbs 12.15 (GW)
[18]Matthew 28.19-20
[19]Psalm 71.18
[20] 2 Corinthians 1.3–7 (GW)
[21] 2 Timothy 2.2
[22] 1 Thessalonians 2.8
[23] 1 Corinthians 11.1
[24] 2 Corinthians 3.2–3 (GW)
[25]Titus 2.3-4
[26] Romans 15.1–2 (MSG)
[27] 1 Timothy 4.12 (GW)
[28] 1 Corinthians 9.25–27 (AMP)
[29] 3 John 4
[30]Psalm 32.8
[31] 2 Peter 1.3 (GW)