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Daily Strength Blog

Job 14—16, Acts 9:22-43 • Key Verses: Acts 9:26-27
Friendship is a wonderful gift that we can give to one another, a gift that can build up if given
but destroy if withheld. One can only wonder how many people have been lost to the cause of
Christ because others withheld the encouragement that comes with friendship.
Saul was a scary figure in the midst of the congregation in Damascus. For one, there was his past
reputation, a persecutor of believers. For another, there was his powerful intellect, baffling the
Jews by proving that Jesus is the Christ. Even while suspicion ran high, Saul grew more and
more powerful.
Then he had to escape those who plotted to kill him. He traveled to Jerusalem and “tried to join
the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple” (v. 26).
They all stayed away from him, except Barnabas.
He came alongside Saul, listened to his story and defended him before the apostles. After that
Saul was able to stay with the disciples and move about freely, speaking boldly in the name of
the Lord. The brothers who feared Saul became his protectors when the Jews tried to kill him.
What brought about the change? The friendship of one man, Barnabas. He was willing to take
the risk, to get to know Saul and speak to his defense. Later, Barnabas and Saul were sent by the
church at Antioch to be the first missionaries. How different the story of the early church might
have been if not for Barnabas!
Look around you at church. Do you see anyone new who needs a friend? Perhaps your greeting
and help can make the difference between that person feeling welcomed or not. God only knows
the difference you can make if you, like Barnabas, take a risk.

Woodrow Kroll & Tony Beckett

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