Do you recall what David did after he killed Goliath? God had already appointed the young shepherd as the next king of Israel. Most young conquerors would have located the nearest Macy’s and tried on crowns. Not David. He went right back to the Judean hills to keep his father’s sheep—a true shepherd with a servant’s heart.
Paul kept a similar vigil in Tarsus. He waited patiently until Barnabas tapped him on the shoulder. Only then did he step into that critical, highly visible role of leadership. I find nothing more attractive in a gifted and competent leader than authentic humility. Paul’s giftedness was framed in the crucible of solitude where he had been honed and retooled by the living Christ.
The evangelist Dwight L. Moody, although unschooled, was a gifted man of God preaching in Birmingham, England, far back in 1875. A noted congregational minister and well-respected theologian, Dr. R. W. Dale, cooperated in that enormously successful campaign. After watching and listening to Moody preach and witnessing the incredible results of the ministry of that simple man, Dr. Dale wrote in his denominational magazine, “I told Mr. Moody that the work was most plainly of God, for I could see no real relation between him and what he had done. Moody laughed cheerily and said, ‘I should be very sorry if it were otherwise.'” No defensiveness, no feeling of being put upon, no embarrassing uneasiness. Moody was the most surprised of anyone that God chose to use him so mightily.
That was Paul. No wonder Barnabas wanted Paul to lead the program in Antioch. What a duet they sang! For an entire year these two men served side by side, and God was greatly glorified.
I love Warren Wiersbe’s succinct definition of ministry: “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.” Paul and Barnabas could have sat for that portrait. Why did Paul and Barnabas experience such pleasure in serving together? No competition. No battle of egos. No one threatened by the other’s gifts. No hidden agendas. No unresolved conflicts. Their single-minded goal was to magnify Christ. It didn’t matter if the crowds multiplied to thousands or shrank to only a few. All that mattered was that Christ be proclaimed and worshipped.
Praise God for the power of two!