Barnabas was not one of the original twelve disciples. He was Paul’s companion on his missionary journeys.
After Paul’s conversion, the Christians in Jerusalem were suspicious of him. They could not easily accept the fact that he had been converted, and they did not want him to join their prayers because they were afraid that he would turn out to be a traitor who would kill them. It was Barnabas who certified, endorsed, and recommended Paul to the Jerusalem community, and thus began Paul’s missionary career.
Barnabas also went to Antioch and, seeing the Christian community there, invited Paul to join him in the city. Barnabas also accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey.
Thus, Barnabas was being true to his name, which means “Son of Encouragement.” Barnabas encouraged Paul in spite of the opposition in Jerusalem. It was he who encouraged Paul in spite of the distance of Antioch. It was he who encouraged Paul to go from one mission land to another to preach the gospel.
But there is something even more encouraging about Barnabas. Halfway through their first missionary journey, he realized that Paul was a more effective preacher than he was. So what did he do?
He backed off and allowed Paul to take the lead. Barnabas was not only a man of encouragement, but he was also a man of humility, who recognized that God would be better glorified if Paul was the leader and he, the follower. Barnabas said, “Let me follow you. You take the lead.” He did not use the argument, “I was here first.” He did not use the argument, “I am more Christian than you.” He did not succumb to the thought that he should be in charge. He simply said, “God would be glorified if you take the leadership, take it.”
I would like you to ask God to name for you a friend, an officemate, or a family member who needs encouragement. And today, before you go to sleep, make sure you make an act of encouragement for that person in need. Do not give the shallow excuse and say, “But I need encouragement too,” or “I am confused and I have problems too.”
Friends in the Lord, there is none among us who is so confused, so weighed down with problems, or so heavily laden with worries that he or she cannot encourage the other. Look around you and you will certainly find somebody who is suffering more than what you are suffering now. That person needs encouragement from you.
Our first name is Christian. Our second name is “we are all sons and daughters of encouragement.”
CHILDREN OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Acts 11:21-26, 13:1-3
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