Speaking to the Soul – July 3


Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. Acts 9:27

Friends are a precious gift and we all need them. When Saul visited Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion, he found himself in a delicate position. He desperately needed a really good friend. His visit came a couple of years after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, and there is no doubt that many people in Jerusalem would have remembered what kind of man he used to be. They might have heard stories about his preaching ministry, but they were deeply suspicious. Maybe it was all an elaborate trap. So Saul needed Barnabas to introduce him to the apostles. Barnabas believed in Saul and was able to speak warmly of his powerful preaching ministry. This was a crucial moment and Barnabas, whose name meant ‘son of encouragement’, was just the friend that Saul needed.

When we face difficult times in life, those moments reveal who our true friends are. The fair-weather friends rush for cover at such times. However, true friends stand with us whatever the circumstances. I’m sure you can immediately think of people who have shown that kind of friendship.

I will never forget my first really difficult situation as a minister. During an agonising time, a letter arrived from a good friend. He assured me that I had his complete support and, whatever happened, he would stand by me. He was as good as his word. I thank God for him and so many others who have given me that wonderful gift of friendship, standing by me in the tough times as well as the good times. The most wonderful example of friendship in the Bible was between David and Jonathan. They lived with constant danger and appalling pressures but, right to the end, they were completely faithful to one another. Thank God for the amazing gift of friendship!

In what ways have friends been a blessing in your life?

Loving God, help me to be like Barnabas by being faithfu