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The greatest measure of fulfilling God’s destiny is not our personal greatness, but rather how many others we help reach their destiny.

Barnabas was a master at unlocking the destiny of others. People who others wrote off as emotional, sinful or uncommitted, Barnabas saw as key players to building God’s kingdom. Barnabas was so focused on giving courage to others, that apostles gave him the nickname “Son of Encouragement”, which means Barnabas.

Here are 3 keys that led Barnabas to unlock the destiny of others:


Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

 Acts 4:36-37

The Bible’s introduction of Barnabas starts with a picture of why he was an expert in helping others find their destiny; Barnabas was selfless.

At a time where persecution was intense, the apostles were leading during very fearful times.  Imagine showing up to church and having the police take your fellow Christians to jail.  Imagine routinely having your friends publically beaten for sharing their faith.  This was a period of time where courage was essential to be a Christian.  This is what makes Barnabas’ encouraging actions to sell his home so inspiring.

Too often, we reduce the word ‘encourage’ to mean empty compliments that are really intended to flatter, manipulate or show pity rather than to truly push someone to make courageous choices. Barnabas illustrates the true definition of ‘encouragement’ by making a selfless choice that empowered and gave courage to the apostles and the rest of the church.

To be someone who unlocks the destiny of other people, it starts with a foundation of being selfless. When we are consumed with making our selfish plans, disheartened about a perceived delay in our destiny or hardened by receiving a destiny we didn’t want, we cannot lead others to have faith about their destiny. Barnabas understood that helping others reach their destiny was his destiny.

How is selfishness preventing you from giving courage to others?

Who has God put in your life to give courage to?

What selfless decisions do you need to make to give others courage?


When he (Saul) came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

 Acts 9:26-28 – 26

When Saul shows up in Barnabas’ life, he is not the Apostle Paul that we all know.  At the time, Barnabas was known as the ‘son of encouragement’, and Saul was known as the son of ‘murderous threats’.   This was only 3-6 months after Saul organized the stoning of Stephen.  Saul had personally been walking into Christians’ homes and ‘dragging away men and women to prison’.  Current Christians were watching a guy who imprisoned their parents, children, spouses and friends.  Let’s just say, no one was inspired to believe in him.

To unlock the destiny of others, you have to be wiling to see what no one else sees.  To see the potential when people are at their worst.  If Barnabas based his beliefs on what others said, he never would have invested in Saul. He highlights the importance of having a personal conviction about what God can do with others. How do you respond when a teacher labels your child? When society looks down on a particular weakness?  When someone else’s sins have disrupted your life?

Barnabas had a relationship with God where he could see beyond human responses to weakness and sins.  This gave him the confidence to stand up for Paul during what must have been an incredibly insecure and vulnerable time.  Without this belief from Barnabas, Saul could have easily faded into obscurity or worse, lost heart believing that he would forever be defined by his past.

Barnabas’ conviction guided him to help Saul build other relationships to raise him up.  A big part of developing the destiny of others, is building a team around others who can cultivate their strengths and transform their weaknesses.  Barnabas was not pridefully making Saul his project, he understood that Saul’s God-given potential warranted the best leaders he knew, to invest in him.  Barnabas had partners.

How are you rejecting what people think, to support and believe in others?

What partnerships do you need to create between others to cultivate their strengths and transform their weaknesses?


Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

Acts 11:25-26

Barnabas set himself apart among the average Christians by initiating relationships.  When it became clear that the church in Antioch needed a dynamic, new leader, Barnabas knew the exact guy for the role.  So he jumped on his horse and travelled some 60 miles and looked throughout a city for 1 man.  How do you think Paul felt when Barnabas finally found him and explained the lengths he went to, to find him?

It is this kind of initiation that taught Paul how to invest his heart & life in others. Barnabas never waited around in the fellowship to be told by the Apostles to take action. He looked for ways to serve and give, and in doing so unleashed the most powerful evangelistic force in the Gentile world.

Who does God want you to initiate with to raise up?

How are you setting an example for others about investing in the lives of others?

Written by

Bay Area Christian Church

This was created by a member of the Bay Area Christian Church team.