A question to ponder. Who saw potential in you and called it out of you? Who encouraged you in your growth and quietly mentored you? Whoever it was left a legacy not only in you but in all the people you have touched.
Those who encourage and develop others are special people. Theirs is a ministry behind the scenes that gets little press but which has huge reward. It is a ministry that is other centered rather than self centered. And, it is a ministry that every one of us can have.
The story of the early church was easily dominated by one great figure - the Apostle Paul. As a theologian he defined much of its theology, as an apostle he planted key churches and as a developer of people he trained up the generation that would go after him.
Think about this, however. Behind this giant was a quiet, unassuming gentleman by the name of Barnabas who took Paul under his wing when everyone else was afraid of him. It was Barnabas who taught Paul in the early days. It was Barnabas who introduced him to the other apostles and the church. It was Barnabas who encouraged and walked alongside Paul when others did not.
So who is more important in the story of the early church: Barnabas or Paul?
Barnabas saw potential in Paul when others did not. As he did with John Mark when Paul did not. I would suggest that Barnabas had a high level of spiritual discernment along with the patience and desire to develop others. His was not a flashy ministry but a ministry in the shadows that lifted others up.
The development of others is a a humble ministry. It often goes unseen and unacknowledged - except by God. It's legacy is in the impact of those they encourage, develop and lift up. Those who see potential where others don't are like prospectors who know the vein of gold is somewhere beneath them. They have the heart of God who sees the potential in each one of us. And they have the patience to draw it out.
Few of us will be earth changing leaders. All of us can be life changing people who have the heart of Barnabas and who call out the best in others.