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Stories, thoughts and reflections on the Bible from the WSFC Staff.

Hello Friends: 11.10.11- Servants of the Kingdom

Hello Friends,

Over the last few months I have been tripping through the Book of Acts with the goal of spotlighting a man named Barnabas. It’s natural to think of Paul or Peter in association with the Acts of the Apostles because they’re larger than life and left a huge fingerprint upon the New Testament. But I like to draw attention to an Underdog: Barnabas. He often gets overlooked and/or minimized, but his investment is so impacting. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: “Without Barnabas, we would not have a Paul.”

Barnabas worked behind the scenes.
Barnabas took a backseat.
Barnabas deferred attention to others.
Barnabas served diligently without applause.

Barnabas is representative of our West Salem Foursquare SERVANTS. We have a wonderful group of people that serve the Kingdom of God wholeheartedly and selflessly. These are the folks that give, pray, build, teach, smile, cook, clean, sing, play, reach, wave and worship with their passions and gifts.

I LOVE our SERVANTS.

Too often a local church is only known by its facility, senior pastor, worship leader, or a particular program or event. These are important and should not be negated; however, I want our church community to be known not for the few, but for the many – those that lay themselves down in big and small ways each and every day.

I see a couple of characteristics of Barnabas in Acts 15 that apply so well to our WSFC Servants:

1. First to Arrive

In chapter 15 we read about a situation in which newly converted Gentiles in Antioch were being required by the religious leaders to perform certain customs, or else put their salvation into jeopardy. This was certainly NOT the heart of the Lord, and Paul and Barnabas were the first to confront it. They were appointed to go to Jerusalem to meet with the council in order to sort the matter out. After an agreement was reached by Peter and others on the council, Barnabas and Paul were then the first to be sent back to Antioch with the verdict.

I love the initiative of these two. They didn’t wait around for “someone else” to do something. Waiting to see if someone else will do it is an easy posture to take in today’s overcommitted culture. Someone else will clean up that mess. Someone else will reach out to the “urban campers.” Someone else will pray for that single mom. Someone else will hold a baby or play with a preschooler. The problem with a “someone else” mentality is that it is alway deferring personal responsibility.

Servants reject a “someone else” mentality. They are the first to arrive, first to say yes (with reasonable balance, of course) and the first to jump in; lending a hand.

They are also the:

2. Last to Leave

After Paul and Barnabas delivered the letter from the Jerusalem Council, and their work was technically done, they “remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord…(vs. 35).” It’s this kind of commitment to the Kingdom that sets them apart. The were the “last to leave.”

Denise and I have always been “last to leave” people. It’s a mentality that we’ve held for as long as we can remember.

I blame it on Pastor Tom.

Tom was my youth pastor growing up in Osceola, Wisconsin. I loved being mentored by him and found any opportunity I could for us to hang out. That often meant staying at the church until he left, and he was always the “last to leave.” Together we would put away chairs, take down posters, wrap up microphone cables, and throw away wrappers and pop cans. During these “last to leave” moments I was unknowingly being discipled into Kingdom ways and means.

First to arrive. Last to leave. Servants with a Barnabas Spirit.

That’s why I LOVE our SERVANTS.

Blessings,

John

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