A third role God might call us to play in a mentoring relationship, besides being a “Paul” or a “Barnabas”, is the role of Timothy.
Painful lessons are usually doorways to new opportunities. Even the Apostle Paul had much to learn. Shortly after his disappointing experience with John Mark, Paul recruited another eager young man, Timothy, to be his assistant. Paul’s intense personality may have been too much for John Mark to handle. It could easily have created the same problem for Timothy. But Paul seems to have learned a lesson in patience from his old friend Barnabas. As a result, Timothy became like a son to Paul. [click to continue…]
One type of mentoring role that is often overlooked is that of Barnabas. Joseph was his real name. Barnabas was his nickname. He was given that nickname because Barnabas means “son of encouragement”.
Barnabas was drawn to people he could encourage. Barnabas was one of the first to sell his possessions to help the poorer Christians of Jerusalem. (See Acts 4:36-37.) When Paul arrived in Jerusalem for the first time following his conversion, the local Christians were understandably reluctant to welcome him. After all, Paul had sought to kill Christians before his own conversion. Consequently, no one trusted his story. Only Barnabas proved willing to risk his life to meet with Paul and then convince the others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus. What would have happened if Barnabas had not encouraged Paul and introduced him to the apostles in Jerusalem? (See Acts 9:27.) Christianity may never have spread throughout the Roman Empire as it did or become a worldwide movement. [click to continue…]