And when Saul had come to Jerusalem,
he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him,
and did not believe that he was a disciple.
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.
– Acts 9:26-27
Only God knows the potential of each believer. We can project what we think God might do in someone’s life, but we have no way of knowing. We see only outward appearances and behavior, whereas God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
The apostles were skeptical of some who professed to be Christians. No one seemed more unlikely to become a dedicated follower of Jesus than Saul of Tarsus. He had been one of Christianity’s greatest enemies, even overseeing the murder of Stephen (Acts 7:58-60). When Paul suddenly expressed an interest in knowing the leaders of the Christian movement, it was natural for the apostles to suspect devious motives and to doubt his conversion. Nevertheless, despite the apostles’ reluctance, Barnabas assumed the best in Paul and risked his own life to be Paul’s advocate.
You may identify with Paul. Perhaps you were an improbable candidate to be a committed Christian. It may be that God placed a Christian friend beside you to help you develop your faith. Thank the Father for those He has sent to you who believed in what God could do in you, even when others doubted.
Perhaps you stand with the apostles. There may be some around you in whom you have little confidence, though they claim to be Christians. Be assured that if God could turn the proud and murderous Saul into one of the greatest saints in history, He is equally capable of redeeming those around you. Don’t give up on your fellow believers. Look to see where God is working in their lives, then join Him. It is a great privilege to be like Barnabas and to invest in the life of a fellow Christian. This is the purpose of discipleship.
Excerpt republished with permission from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby c. 1997 B&H Publishing Group.