Saturday, June 6, 2015

Who Is Your Barnabas?

1st Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.

Have you ever had someone come up to you at just the right time and say what you needed to hear to pick you up and get you going again? Someone who was there for you, encouraged you with word and deed, and helped you if even in a small way?

Who was it?

On the flip side have you ever had someone come up at exactly the wrong time and say something negative that pulls you down? Something that made you feel horrible and worthless?

Who was it?

Why is it usually easier to bring to mind the one who hurt us instead of the one who encouraged us? Why do we wake up at night gritting our teeth remembering the one who wronged us? Why do we fail to be thankful for the encourager even when we appreciate the results of the encouragement?

In the biblical book of Acts we meet a man named Barnabas who was known as the “Son of Encouragement”. Nearly everyone, Christian or not, has heard of the Apostle Paul but not even many Christians know all that Barnabas did. However if it weren't for this man then Paul would have never gotten his foot in the door, the term “Christian” would most likely not be known and the Gospel of Mark may have never been written. (1)

Barnabas stood up for Paul in the Jerusalem church, and discipled him in his ministry. He encouraged and supported the church at Antioch were the term “Christian” - meaning little Christ – was first used to describe believers. He took famine relief to the church in Jerusalem and he took a chance on a young somewhat skittish missionary named John Mark who would later pen the gospel that bears his name.

We remember the result of the encouragement even though we forget the encourager. However God never forgets when we take the time out to pour a little bit of ourselves – and Him – into the lives of others. God did not forget Barnabas and His word describes him as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.” (Acts 11:24 – HCSB). What a wonderful, eternal testimony!

So my question to you today is who is your Barnabas? Who is your encourager? Do you remember them and if you do have you thanked them?

And if you ever feel like the encouragement you have shared with others is getting drowned out in the business of life, take heart. Even if everyone else has forgotten the kindness you have done, your Heavenly Father has not.

Discover more in this week's podcast "Choosing Love: Love Encourages"

Till next time,
God Bless!

(1) See Acts chapters 4, 9, 11 & 15 among others as well as this entry in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.

NOTE: This series was written to coincide with the Bible Studies For Life series "Like Glue" by Pastor Ben Mandrell available here.