"Might you know of where to find one Saul here in town, Saul of Tarsus?". A young street entrepreneur looked up and away from his prized linen he was preparing to sell and saw a decently dressed Jewish Cypriot; "you mean the tent maker?" he quipped. "Yes" eagerly the Cypriot replied, "I have traveled from Antioch and have been seeking out this Saul for a few days now, it's important I find him". After the young seller of linen gave the directions, Jose, nicknamed Barnabas, quickly made his way down a route of a myriad of small streets and alleys through Tarsus until he came to a door of a small, simple but neat dwelling typical of a pharisee. After a moment of knocking on the door heartily, it opened and a man dressed in his work clothes appeared at the door. "Brother Saul…", Barnabas said quietly with a joyous smile on his face, “let’s talk…”
It is said that one of the greatest verses of the New Testament is Acts 11:25 “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul”. The missing ingredient in many people’s lives that would take them to the place God has called them into is encouragement. Barnabas was a finder – builder, he found Saul in Tarsus and John Mark in Jerusalem (Acts 12.25) because he saw the invisible value & potential in a person that has a call on their lives. Jesus had this as he moved through Galilee seeing the unseen in these fishermen’s lives and called them into discipleship. A wise pastor anointed for his ministry will have the wisdom from God to discern a discouraged saint’s gift and direct them into their place on the team, staff or church by investment, teaching, instruction and at times exhortation. This is what we see Barnabas do in Antioch Acts 11:26 where the new disciples are first called “Christians.”
The solution often times to many problems on the team in a church planting work is just encouragement. Encouragement is speaking from divine perspective God’s mind about a person in faith – calling those things that are not as though they were. Encouragement is enabling. Discouragement’s affect is disabling so as to cause passivity, that people go back to their Tarsus. Encouragement costs our self life and requires; travel, effort, consistency and much faith-love. It requires seeing the invisible New Man in a person – seeing the potential, the treasure of their value and not quitting until we get them to Antioch – their place in the Body of Christ. Let’s find Saul of Tarsus!