Barnabus and Timothy

I have heard it said that each of us needs to have both a Barnabus and a Timothy in our lives. The premise conveys the idea that we have someone mentoring us, one on one,  in our Christian walk even as we would mentor someone less mature in their walk. It has been my privilege to have that Barnabus who gently, but firmly, guided me out of a life of selfishness and despair into one of surrender; into a life of joy and peace. Whether or not I have paid the deed forward to a Timothy is not for me to say. I can only attest to making myself available to be used by God.

I recently commemorated the anniversary of my Barnabus' going home to his final reward. It came upon me unexpectedly as anniversaries sometimes do. I still miss him terribly; his honesty, his kindness, and his unrelenting passion for Christ. His name was A.J. and I learned early in our relationship that A.J. loved me when I was unlovable. He cared, really cared about my soul, and he was not going to be denied by my stubbornness. There was never a day when he didn't have time to bend his ear to this floundering Timothy.

A.J. spent many weeks and months leading me, guiding me deeper and deeper into the arms of Christ. He was not the most educated man but he knew his Bible. Scripture verses and passages that I had known for many years he would now explain to me, for you see, "The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit." (1 Cor. 2:14) I had known the words but without the Holy Spirit in my life they had no meaning. These same verses and passages now became clear and understandable – from black and white TV to Cinemascope and Technicolor with surround-sound, God's holy word came alive.

The Lord has not seen fit to replace my Barnabus yet – I say 'yet' as I feel that I need, as we all need, that stabilizing, affirming presence as we struggle with weaknesses and temptation.

Oswald Chambers' devotional theme on A.J.'s anniversary date focuses on moving ahead without your Elijah. I quote the opening paragraph – "It is not wrong for you to depend on your "Elijah" for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, "I cannot continue without my Elijah", yet God says you must continue." (My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

Could we have a dichotomy of beliefs here? I think not. I think God provides that Barnabus to a Paul (or Elijah to Elisha), as a mentor or guide as He sees is our need. I did 'continue on' as Chambers counsels after A.J. passed away, but that doesn't mean I don't occasionally feel the need for a similar presence in my life.

I pray that you have that Barnabus to guide you, and that you have made yourself available to the Timothys in your church. May the Lord bless you and yours, and may you be a blessing to others.

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