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A 21st-century thank-you note to Barnabas

From the April 2017 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Dear Barnabas

Today, as I was considering your amazing contribution to our Cause, I just couldn’t help but stop for a while to give gratitude. First, thank you for your incredibly generous financial support. I’ve learned that after Jesus’ ascension, you sold your farm and gave all of the proceeds to support his disciples so that their work could continue. In the midst of a spiritual revolution, it is often difficult to grasp the magnitude of the impact a great movement will have on mankind. Thank you for having the necessary spiritual vision for the tremendous work to be accomplished and for your eager and fearless willingness to contribute. Clearly, there was nothing more important to you than furthering the work of spreading the message of the healing Christ to humanity.

Not only did you have a generous pocketbook, you had a generous heart. A few years after Saul had his experience on the road to Damascus and then his eye-opening healing with Ananias, he enthusiastically went to the disciples in Jerusalem to offer himself as a ready worker and to further his understanding of Jesus’ teachings. However, as you know, the disciples were still afraid, and probably resentful, of Saul, or Paul, and so were resistant. After all, he had persecuted the disciples’ loved colleagues. But, true to the name the disciples gave you—Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement” (I understand your given name was Joseph)—you, practicing the refined spiritual skill of expressing mercy, did not hold this promising young man to a past record. 

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