Monday, 11 June 2018

Playing the second fiddle

The saint of the day, St Barnabas, is said to have stood as a witness and presented Saul, after his conversion, to the apostles as a genuine Christian.  They do undertake some missionary journeys and do much good.  However, history remembers Paul more than Barnabas.  While both carried out their missionary activity, initially together, it is Paul who almost overshadows Barnabas with his eloquence, wisdom and reach.  Perhaps this was also the cause of their parting ways - could be! 

What strikes me is that Barnabas was - at least initially - willing to play the second fiddle, if one might use such a hierarchical language in ministry.  In cricketing terms, Barnabas let Paul do the real scoring and only lend his support by rotating the strike.  Barnabas, was one of the apostles, a chosen one of Christ. Paul, on the other hand, a newcomer, one who had never seen Jesus during his lifetime here on earth.  Yet Barnabas let Paul take the lead. 

This was possible only and as long as both of them understood that the mission at hand was greater than their individual egos.  A good lesson for us priests and religious when engaging in ministry: letting the Spirit work rather than insisting on it working (only) through me, or worse, emphasizing my work.  

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