For whatever it is worth, I took a spiritual gifts test in college and it determined that I was most like Barnabas. This means that I am more of an encourager and peacemaker type. This is pretty accurate according to my limited self-awareness.
As I was preparing my Bible Study in Acts 11 for Sunday School this week, I came across this quote about Barnabas. I found it to be stunning as it revealed to me how even our good qualities can overreach at times and often show us how flawed we are as human beings.
“People like Barnabas are always needed in the church. They are peacemakers, the go-betweens who seek no glory for themselves but only seek to bring out the best in others. But “would-be” Barnabases of today need to hear a further lesson from this outstanding biblical figure. Barnabases want everyone to be happy, but sometimes it simply is not possible to please everyone without serious compromise of one’s basic convictions. Barnabas found that out later at Antioch when, in order to placate the conservative Jewish Christians “from James” (Jerusalem), he withdrew from table fellowship with those very Gentile-Christian converts we see him witnessing to so enthusiastically (Gal 2:11-13)”—John Polhil Acts in NAC Commentary, p 272. Italics mine.
I admit it: In my perfect world I desire everyone to be happy and to get along. At times, I get disgusted with how often Christians can quibble over things that I feel are irrelevant—but it is here where I need my warning as a would-be Barnabas: don’t compromise. Have your convictions and stick to them, while at the same time still being as much of a peacemaker and encourager as you can possibly be, yet without compromise.