Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

One of the New Testament’s most influential men was Barnabas, a first-century church leader, who mentored Saul of Tarsus (later known as the apostle Paul) and John Mark.  A missionary and gifted teacher in his own right, Barnabas encouraged others and worked a lot behind the scenes.

Barnabas was a discerning man who saw potential in others.  After Saul became a Christian, he tried to join the disciples in Jerusalem, but they did not accept him, for he had been a ruthless persecutor of Christ.  (Acts 9:26)  But Barnabas came to Saul’s defense and convinced them he was a genuine believer.  Barnabas took a chance on the risky convert, who became Christianity’s greatest missionary, and who wrote thirteen epistles in the New Testament.  

Barnabas and Saul (Paul) teamed up for their first missionary journey and brought the young John Mark along as a helper.  But for unknown reasons, he deserted them and returned to Jerusalem.  On the second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted John Mark to join them again, but Paul adamantly refused, and so they parted ways.  Barnabas took John Mark and sailed to Cyprus, and Paul teamed with Silas and headed to Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:37-41).  Once again, Barnabas took another man under his wing, who would later prove helpful to Paul’s ministry (2 Timothy 4:11), and who wrote the Gospel of Mark.  

Behind every great achiever is someone like Barnabas.  Never underestimate the significance of those who work behind the scenes or who mentor and encourage others, for they are valuable in God’s sight. 

Father, thank You for Barnabas’ example of Christ-like attributes.  Help us to follow his lead and be an encouragement to others.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Susan Ferguson is a freelance writer who lives in Madison, Mississippi with her husband. She is an accountant by profession and works during the day and writes at night. She is a member of Faithwriters and participates in their daily devotional. She likes to read, travel, and cook for family and friends.