Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Virgil and Paul

“But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus” - Acts 9:27 Seeing potential in people is always difficult. Why? Because believing someone can change requires future vision. It requires seeing past the present behavior to what could be. It requires hope- hope that the person in question may not possess. But seeing potential is absolutely crucial in helping people reach their God-given best. Two people at the top of the “potential see-er” list are Barnabas of the New Testament and Andy of Mayberry. In episode thirty, season two of the Andy Griffith Show, Barney tells Andy that his cousin Virgil will soon be visiting Mayberry and perhaps they could offer him a job at the Sheriff's office. Add Virgil to the list of people that Barney saw as “fit’’ to be deputies on the “force.” Barney did not see potential in people very well. Andy takes a “wait and see” attitude, which turned out to be good thing. When Virgil finally shows up - he had missed the bus when he went to mail a letter during a rest stop. He seems nothing short of disaster prone. From spilling the dinner at Andy's house to crashing the squad car, everything he touches seems to end up in disaster. He even cleans the jail keys so thoroughly that they will no longer open the cells, leaving Otis trapped just when he has a job interview to get to. Just when things seem at their worst, Andy finds one thing Virgil does well. Virgil had carved Opie a wonderful wooden figure of a cowboy. Andy asked how he did it and Virgil replied, “I do better work when no one is watching.” So, with no one watching, Andy has him get Otis out of the cell. Virgil does it well. Andy helps Virgil discover that he does have talent, if it’s used in the right atmosphere. That’s what “potential seekers” do. They move the frustrated lineman to defensive end and marvel at the success of the athlete. They move the unsatisfied salesman to a job on the plant floor and appreciate his success in his new role. They see the power of change and the relief that comes with being planted in the right kind of soil. Barnabas, was a Jew from Cyprus who became a Christian. As is recorded in Acts, he was an outstanding man and was dedicated to the church in Jerusalem. After Paul became a Christian, Barnabas supported Paul as he associated with the disciples in Jerusalem. He built him up just when he needed it. When Barnabas was assigned to head up the new church in Antioch, he formed his ministry team. One of his first choices was the young, feisty Paul, who has been living for years back in his hometown of Tarsus. It was a gamble, but Barnabas made the journey there, found Paul and hired him. And Paul flourished in his God-given role. Barnabas literally means “encourager.” What a nickname. His given name was Joseph (Acts 4:36) but he must have been quite an encourager. Encouragers always see potential because encouragement is the fuel that drives someone to reach their potential. Discouragement drives people backwards while encouragement propels them forward. That’s what Barnabas did for Paul. He took the once all-star Jewish legalist Saul and helped develop him into the grace-filled leader named Paul. He helped him be more than he thought he could be. That’s what happens when we tap someone’s potential. They become more than they thought possible. They use their God-given talents and marvel at the gift. Be a Barnabas and Andy to those around you. Look past the present behavior and build up what could be instead of criticizing what is. Have the vision to see the possibilities. Paint the picture for the person. Set them up to succeed. The Virgil’s and the Paul’s are waiting… By Eric Joseph Staples © www.parentingyourteen101.com

No comments: