I’m not afraid to try things that I haven’t done before. It doesn’t mean I’m good at them, but I’ll try them. Let me clarify: I’m not talking about skydiving or eating fish eyeballs. I mean skill stuff. Like playing a new sport or attempting to fix something. But just because I attempt things, doesn’t mean I am doing them the best way possible. I worked in retail for 13 years. During that time, I worked many positions within the store. With each position comes a new skill set. I remember when I first worked night crew, stocking the shelves for the next day. The way I was opening cases of cans was taking me a while and the others were working circles around me. When one of the experienced guys saw how I was cutting open the case, he was like “what are you doing?” Then he showed me the pro way to do it. It was way better! I was just doing the best I could, but there was a better way.
Moses found himself in a similar situation. He started out as a one-on-one leader but the leadership needs began to grow. Rather than adapting his leadership style to the changing needs of the people, he just continued to stay course on the only way he knew how, which was exhausting! So when his father-in-law Jethro came to town and saw what was going on, he quickly asked: “you’re doing what?!”
Exodus 18:14 When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”
Jethro then proceeded to give Moses some wisdom about how to better handle the situation. You see, it was a blind spot for Moses. He couldn’t see it any other way. He figured this was the only option he had. And he needed someone else with wisdom to look at the situation with fresh eyes. That wisdom probably saved Moses from a continued life of exhaustion and frustration.
Do you have anyone in your life who asks, “you’re doing what?” Do you have anyone who you have allowed to speak into the places where most people can’t go? You see, we need wisdom from others. We need input. We may not like it or even want it, but we need it. Because, quite frankly, we have blind spots. We get entrenched in things and don’t see any other options. So we must find ourselves a mentor, a trusted friend, a person of wisdom. These are the people who might just see something that we don’t. It might be as simple as how to open a box more efficiently. But it also might be how to get out of the proverbial box that you have been stuck in for so long.
Acts 18:24-26 24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25 He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26 He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
We’ve all met someone who really seems to have their act together. They know what they are talking about and exude a confidence that others can only hope for. They speak with passion, conviction, and authority. We are impressed and are quick to listen. Such was the case with Apollos. He showed up on the scene in Ephesus and began to teach. He was educated and taught with confidence. But there was a hole in his gospel; he had more to learn. Priscilla and Aquila picked up on it and refined his beliefs and his message.
I don’t imagine this would be the easiest mentorship for most people. Here you have what we would call a mature believer being told he needs some mentoring. Do you know many “mature believers” who feel they need mentoring? Do you know many Christians who feel they have what it takes to mentor a mature believer? Priscilla and Aquila were concerned less with offending Apollos or wondering if they were qualified, and more concerned with a solid gospel being preached.
If we are going to be the church, we need to help those who have more to learn. We must also realize that no matter where we are in our walk with the Lord, we still have more to learn. It’s important to have a solid foundation of doctrine, but I have met Christians who have come to the place of no longer learning. Everything they read or hear goes through a filter of whether or not they agree. They don’t actually listen, they just judge the material. And when we do that, we aren’t allowing the Holy Spirit to give us fresh revelation. We aren’t allowing God to speak to us in a new way through ancient scripture. We all have more to learn.
*Who would God call you to in the way Priscilla and Aquila were called to Apollos?
*Have you become so sure of yourself, that you have stopped learning?
Acts 9:26-28 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. 28 So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
Saul was a bad man! He didn’t just make some bad life choices, he was trying to kill the followers of Christ. So it was natural the the disciples were a bit leery of letting him join their group. What if he was just pretending so that he could get in and kill them all? What if he was an imposter who was trying to ruin their calling? These were legitimate concerns; Saul came to Jerusalem on a mission to destroy the early church. In the midst of his journey, though, he had an encounter with Jesus, who changed his life forever. Yes, his life took a 180. He went from a church destroyer to a church builder. His message of destruction turned into a message of hope. How do you trust someone like that? How do you know if they’ve really changed? The disciples weren’t sure and pushed him away. But Barnabas…
Those two words changed the course of history. Those two words were the catalyst that was responsible for the gospel spreading to the Gentile world. Those two words opened a door for a ministry and a minister that would write much of the New Testament. Yes, two words: “but Barnabas.” You see, when everyone else was uncertain, Barnabas took a chance on Saul. He saw something in him that others didn’t see. He looked beyond Saul’s past and into his future. He separated his emotion from the fear and listened to the Spirit of God within him. He recognized that this man on a mission to kill was truly changed. But Barnabas.
Maybe you have had a Barnabas in your life – someone who believed in you when no one else did. They saw in you potential that maybe even you didn’t see. They contended for God’s plan for your life and called you to higher places. We all need a Barnabas, don’t we? So who needs you? There is someone today that needs you, Barnabas. He needs someone to believe in him, because he is getting discouraged. She needs someone to mentor her and help her walk away from the destructive choices she is making. Who will answer the call to do for Saul what Barnabas did? Someone is waiting, friends.
*Challenge for the day:
1. Contact your Barnabas. Who believed in you? Thank them today and let them know that you are grateful for their voice in your life.
2. Be a Barnabas. Ask God who He is calling you to. Believe in someone and help release God’s calling on their life.