In cleaning out the garage this past weekend, I came across two notes dated almost 15 years ago when I served as a Music and Youth Pastor in a church in South Florida. Each of these cards came at a time when I significantly struggled with my calling into the preaching ministry. I spent a good amount of time and money obtaining my bachelor’s and master’s in church music, and I loved being the music pastor at the church where I could do youth, adult, and senior adult choirs–plus teach my youth the Scriptures.
And God was moving me to another chapter. I struggled for 18 months at the implications.
God provided opportunities for me to preach. At first, it didn’t go well, but the more opportunities I had, the more comfortable I felt and God began to give me my ‘voice.’ During one particular sermon on either a Sunday night or Wednesday night, I received two notes from two dear ladies in the church. Both so very encouraging, not only for what I did and how God used the sermon, but their love for Cindy and myself in general.
Barnabas was called the Son of Encouragement. When Paul refused to give John Mark another opportunity due to him deserting them on an earlier mission trip (Acts 13:13), Barnabas took Mark along, while Paul went the other way with Silas (Acts 15:36-40). He was done with the one-and-done opportunities. He encouraged Mark, and soon became a big help to Paul (2 Timothy 4:11). Encouragement is contagious, to be sure. And how the church benefited from Barnabas’ refusal to be a one-and-one disciple.
We may have folks in our lives who, through one or two (or more) mistakes and missteps, we want to write off. One and done. But I must keep in mind Barnabus. And those two dear ladies who didn’t write me off when I was ready to write myself off.
Let’s not be that person! More than one-and-done!