Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Paul and Barnabas of It

I relate to Paul on a lot of levels. I love the black and whiteness of him. I understand his zealousness... sometimes misplaced. I get the struggle of head knowledge without heart change. I feel his call to the Gentiles... that took at least eleven years to come to fruition. Even though he knew the entirety of the Torah... he still had much to learn.

Then there's Barnabas. Awesomely, encouraging Barnabas. Yea, don't relate to him as much. I struggle to say positive, encouraging things. Especially to my family. But I have met my share of today's Barnes, and you know what? I always leave their presence feeling uplifted and ready to go back out and do more for the Lord. I've wanted to be more encouraging like them, but at the end of the day, I've always chalked it up to different personalities and left it at that.

Until a few days ago when I read my BSF notes and was struck with the question: "Would your family describe you as providing gracious, strong, and spiritual leadership?

Um, maybe not. Especially the gracious part.

Here's how Luke describes Barnes' visit to the Gentile believers:
When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

My notes described his visit as gracious: "He recognized and appreciated God's work in them."

Here's where it hits home for me. So often with all of my kids, but especially with this boy, I'm so busy looking at the present and future that I never look at the present compared to the past. I see a current sin struggle and we battle it out together. Me, with admonition, discipline and prayer. And him, with prayer, self-control, and spiritual formation. Then, when he's past that stage, I quickly move on to the next sin that pops to the forefront.

While all this is good and part of parenting, to help them through their sin struggles, I rarely go back and help my kids remember how they've grown in the Lord. "Look at how far Jesus has brought you at this young age. Look at what wonderful things God has already done in your life and how you've grown in Him!" I don't say that. I don't often recognize and appreciate the Lord's work in their lives.

But my kids don't always need a Paul in their lives... remember John Mark? Mark needed mercy and another chance. Barnabus was willing to give him that. Paul? Well, he was still a little rough around the edges in the mercy department. Was it just personality? Maybe, but God doesn't want us to remain just like us. Instead He wants us to become more like Him. And God, well, God is rich in mercy! And the God who eventually restored Paul and Mark's relationship, He can make me an encourager and full of mercy!

(t-shirt: thrifted... not quite vintage, but i still love it!)

1 comment:

mpoffman said...

You are an encouragement to me, and you're a great Mami!