When he 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. –Acts 9:26, 27
Over the years I have been asked many times if I could be listed as a reference on someone’s job application. Usually I am able to provide a positive reference for the person. When potential employers call and ask me to describe the qualities of the person and if I think he or she would be a good employee, it’s always nice to be able to answer in the affirmative. Consider that if we have someone willing to do that on our behalf, then that is a blessing. Someone believes in us and is willing to stand up and say so.
After Paul the Apostle’s conversion to Christianity (See Acts 9:1-22) the change in him was so dramatic that people were at first skeptical. Some had a hard time believing that the same man who had been persecuting the faith was now proclaiming it. Few people of Paul’s day had attacked the church with such zeal and ferocity. When the news came that he had begun to preach the very message he had previously tried to destroy, it’s normal that some would be doubtful. In fact, some within the church thought that it was some sort of trick designed to entrap more followers of Christ. Thanks to a brother in Christ named Barnabas, who brought Paul (formerly called Saul) before the church leaders and testified as to his sincerity, the church welcomed him.
No doubt there has been a time when you needed someone to step up and speak on your behalf. Wasn’t it positive and affirming to have someone who was willing to do that for you? What a blessing to know that someone believes in us so much that they will testify as to our sincerity, honesty, and work ethic. Consider also that there may be someone in need of an affirming word and you or I may be the one needed to speak on his or her behalf. Doing this for someone might just be the lifeline someone needs to keep trying and to keep moving forward.
Pray for those you know who need a positive word of encouragement. Some troubled soul can benefit from your willingness to speak on his or her behalf. You will be blessed and those in need will be reminded of their worth and potential. Reach out today in the name of the Lord. Someone needs a helping hand, a kind word, and a gentle affirmation.
God will bless us when we reach out in love.