Who Can You Encourage?

EncouragmentI love the story of Barnabas. While his given name was Joseph, he was such a friend and supporter that he became known as “Barnabas” which literally means “son of encouragement”.

As we examine the life of Barnabas in Acts 9 and 11 in Sunday Morning Bible Study groups, we will find that this man exemplified a key trait of being a true friend. We first hear about Barnabas in Acts 4:36 where Luke records that Barnabas sold some property and gave the proceeds as an offering to the church. Later in Acts 9:27, Barnabas again lays it all on the line as he befriends the recent convert Saul (Paul) who is not trusted by Believers because of his past actions of persecution.

Barnabas continues to appear throughout Acts as one who is sent to other places to encourage and instruct. Eventually Barnabas becomes Paul’s traveling partner on their missionary journey. In fact if you look closely, you will see that Luke describes their partnership as Barnabas and Paul up until chapter 13, when the names are reversed and Paul becomes the first mentioned. As you recall, Barnabas eventually began his own mission treks with Mark, who later penned the first gospel.

Barnabas helped disciple countless people. Two for sure included Paul and Mark. We don’t know the entire story, but we know enough that his spirit of encouragement and steadfastness influenced two of the greatest men in Christian history. As we open the Word this week, think about those who have encouraged you…and those you can encourage as well.

Things to Ponder:

Allow God to bring to mind someone who is encouraging you in the faith…and someone you can encourage.
Why is it risky to help others sometimes? Are you willing to take those risks?
In what areas of your life would you like some encouragement? Who or what could provide that for you?

Think about how a simple word of encouragement can change someone’s perspective for the day. Practice doing that today and make it a habit to say or write something encouraging to those you encounter.

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