Reflections: St. Barnabas, Apostle

June 11, 2024 

Today’s Reading: Mark 6:7-13

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 9:1-18; John 13:21-38

So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. Mark 6:12

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. More is assumed about Barnabas than is actually known, which is probably ok. Jesus sends out the 12 to conquer disease and demons alike in His name and warns them that it won’t get them rich, or even always a place to crash for the night, but don’t bother preparing for it, which is somehow good, since it came from the God who sets the standard for goodness. Preach repentance and give all the good Gifts it brings. Preach Law and Gospel. Sinners need forgiveness. Jesus forgives sinners and gives them everlasting life in His death for them. It’s missions in a way that is hard to codify with programs, checklists, and seminars. The results are hard to measure, but we’ll see people who heard, believed, and even now live in Christ who conquered death when we join them in victory.  

Still, mostly the Church is more concerned with what it doesn’t have than what it does. Not enough money. Not enough programs. Not enough kids. All worldly advice is that it takes money to make money, and it takes an active youth group to attract more youth. To the one who has, more will be given and all that. But the 12 were sent without. Barnabas preached likely to martyrdom. And you know his name even though there were many who’d see him killed just to stop him from talking. It’s refreshing to consider missions as Jesus sends the 12. The Church was never called to growth, just faithfulness. God handles the growth when and where He pleases. He doesn’t tell the 12 how to grow the Church, fundraise, or do any of the things we’re sure are needed. He tells them to go preach and watch as creation mends itself according to their faithful words.  

You’ll go out into a world and feel ill-equipped to confront it in your faith. That’s fine, too. The Church was not founded on what we brought to the table. It stands on Christ, who forgives your sins and the sins of all believers. It stands on His Word, which you learn and hold dear. The 12 preached. Barnabas was used by God as God saw fit, even if nobody really knows much about it. You don’t need to build something that will be remembered in history to support a faith you love. Pray for faithfulness, hear God’s Word, and be unafraid, because the hope you cling to endures all things. What’s miraculous is that it can even help others, too. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

For Barnabas we praise You, Who kept Your law of love And, leaving earthly treasures, Sought riches from above. O Christ, our Lord and Savior, Let gifts of grace descend, That Your true consolation May through the world extend. (LSB 518:17)

– Rev. Harrison Goodman is the content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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