Authentic Influencer: The Barnabas Way of Shaping Lives for Jesus

“A godly influencer saturates any and every environment for God.”

God has a vision for His world. He dreams of what will be. The story of the Scriptures shows us where God’s been heading all along. The Bible articulates not only God’s dream but also His doings that guarantee its reality, and this despite Satan’s hijacking manoeuvre. Of course, the only way of catching God’s vision is if you read His version of life. The Bible is not just a map of history but also a compass for navigating life well. It steers our lives according to God’s vision of the good life for the sake of the world around us.

Barnabas caught this vision.

Barnabas saw the world as God wants to make it. He saw where God is heading in history. In light of that, he made God’s vision of the good life his personal dream to pursue.

Every follower of Jesus must do the same. Influence in your little corner of the world begins there. This is precisely why Barnabas’ account is given to us in the book of Acts—he is a role model for followers of Jesus.

Barnabas showed us three accessible and hands-on ways you can express God’s heart toward those around you.

First, Barnabas was generous with his words. This is perhaps what he is best known for today—words of encouragement. The name we know him by, Barnabas, is a nickname, not his birth name. And while nicknames then, like today, could be cruel, they could also be complimentary. Barnabas is a nickname of high praise; it is a compliment—son of encouragement. Here is one whose words put a spring in another’s step, a smile on a face, and hope in others’ hearts.

Second, Barnabas was generous with his wallet. Of the many things that could be said of Barnabas, God wants the record to show that our role model was generous with his stuff. That’s as practical as it gets: sacrificial giving. He owns a piece of farmland—presumably on the island of Cyprus—and he sold it. He didn’t just think of selling it. He didn’t just plan to sell it one day or leave it as part of his estate. He actually sold it. Why? Because there were needs in the lives of those around him. That’s the context of this section of Acts. Who knows, perhaps all those kids in Sunday school causing a ruckus are noisy because they’re hungry. “Let’s go buy some food,” Barnabas would say. The proceeds from the sale of his land may have eased the burdens of those around him. After all, God’s people were his family.

Third, Barnabas was generous in his walk. Barnabas pursued a walk of humility, selflessness, and self-abandon. He gave of himself, not just of his stuff. I’m talking about status. Barnabas gave up his high standing in the structures of that culture. He didn’t climb up the ladder of perceived importance; he chose to climb down.

Authentic Christian influence flows from you when humility is evident in you; it is an attractive trait—a Christlike quality. A godly influencer serves as God’s hands. Generosity of words, wallet, and walk follows those who catch God’s vision.

Order your copy of Authentic Influencer to dig deeper into the life of Barnabas and learn 15 principles for becoming the godly encourager Christ has called you to be.

Excerpt taken from Authentic Influencer: The Barnabas Way of Shaping Lives for Jesus by Jonathan Murphy. Copyright 2023 by Jonathan Murphy. Used with permission from Thomas Nelson.