How would you feel if you volunteered to do a much needed work in the church, but your offer to help was rejected? Surely, all of us have faced rejection, and more than likely we haven’t always responded as we should. Maybe we were overcome with disappointment, anger and bitterness, at least for a little while. If you can relate to such feelings, then try to put yourself in the first century sandals of a man named, Barsabas.
Barsabas is mentioned in Acts 1:23-26. A proposal was made by the disciples to either appoint Barsabas or Matthias as an apostle to fill the office Judas vacated. Can you imagine what an honor it would have been to be selected as the next “apostle of Jesus?” For one who loved the Lord and had followed him since the baptism of John (Acts 1:21-22), this opportunity must have been a thrilling possibility. To be able to be used by God in such a capacity; to be able to be an instrument through which God performed signs, wonders, and miracles, and to reveal new truth must have sent his mind reeling with possibilities.
But his dreams, whatever they may have been, were short-lived. Lots were cast. Matthias was chosen. Barsabas was rejected. And the narrative of the book of Acts moves on, never mentioning Barsabas again. But how I would love to know, as Paul Harvey was known for saying, “the rest of the story.”
Did Barsabas sulk? Did he accuse someone of tampering with the lots that were cast? Did he ask for two-out-of-three? Did he act respectfully, publicly shaking Matthias’ hand, but inwardly trying to tame his rage and jealousy? Did this man who followed Jesus from the time of the baptism of John, slowly lose interest after this rejection and drift away? Or did he zealously press on, being content to serve God in whatever capacity he could?
I don’t know how Barsabas responded, but I do know what the right and wrong response would be to such rejection. The challenge is to take what we see so clearly with respect to Barsabas and apply it to our own lives. Don’t allow disappointment to derail your faith.
While I don’t know “the rest of this story,” I choose to hope the best in Barsabas following his disappointment, and as you face disappointment, I choose to hope the best in you too.