Proverbs speaks of the wonder of “the way of an eagle in the sky” (30:19).
It is amazing to watch an eagle swoop from the sky to capture fish in a lake. The bird’s eyesight is astoundingly five times greater than ours. It can spot prey from 1,000 feet in the air over an area of three square miles.
Barnabas was a great encourager who had eagle-like vision in spiritual matters. “Eagle Eye” Barnabas could spot the grace of God at work in a person’s life with perfect clarity. During the spread of the early church, he was sent to check out new believers in Antioch. His first reaction: “When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23).
The ability to see grace at work, even in the smallest of ways, stirred him to rejoice and swoop down to come alongside and strengthen their hearts. Barnabas did this with Paul and Mark, too.
I’m sometimes the opposite of Barnabas. As a pastor, husband, and dad, I can fail to see God’s grace in others. My eagle-like vision is quick to spot a failure or flaw from a distance. I want to be more like “Eagle Eye” Barnabas. He was an encourager with sharp eyes for grace and nearsighted vision for faults.
There were weaknesses at Antioch. Paul and Mark had rough edges. But God was at work. Barnabas’ first inclination was to strengthen the work of grace rather than to knock off the rough edges of immaturity. What are your pastoral eyes focused on as the shepherd of the flock?