vv 22-23 When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.
Immediately after Peter’s visit to Jerusalem we find the Kingdom of God growing among the Gentiles. The traditional Jewish blindness about the Gentiles and their value to God is dispersed as some disciples go to spread the news among the Gentiles in Antioch. The Christian leaders in Jerusalem get to investigate what was happening, and so we find Barnabas sent there to bring back a report. It seems that he found everything in good order, so he co-opts Paul into a teaching ministry in Antioch to bring these Gentiles up to speed on the Old Testament. (Barnabas seems to be a good man, introducing new people into the Gospel account. See also Acts 9:26-27, Acts 14:23 and Acts 15:29)
Whatever else Barnabas might have seen at Antioch, he saw evidence of God’s blessing there. It is clear the people needed more thorough teaching, hence his call to Paul to join him, but he was able to focus on the blessing that was there, and it filled him with joy.
This ability to see God’s blessing in different circumstances is a reaI source of joy. It is often much easier to see where weakness needs correction rather than catch a glimpse of progress that needs encouragement.
So learn to look around the growth group you are in, or around your closer friends in the Church, and see the positive evidence of God’s blessing in their lives. Let that fill your prayers with thanksgiving for them!