Barnabas – Son of Encouragement

THE GREAT ENCOURAGER

 

There is great power in words of encouragement. Power to motivate and transform the lives of individuals and power to shape the future. Never underestimate the encouraging words that you speak to change people’s lives.

 

One of the most significant personalities in the New Testament was neither a dynamic preacher nor an energetic evangelist or a tireless missionary. He was a simple, ordinary businessman named Barnabas.

 

Barnabas is mentioned 25 times in the Book of Acts and several times in the epistles. And each times he is mentioned he is doing exactly the same thing – he is encouraging.

 

The apostles called him Barnabas which literally means, “Son of Encouragement”

He had gained the reputation of encouraging people and of bringing hope and reassurance. He was determined to help and boost every person who crossed his path.

 

BARNABAS WAS GENEROUS

 

People in the early church were very poor. They were persecuted and discriminated against because of their faith. Some were instantly fired from their jobs and new young Christians were thrown out of their homes. Barnabas owned a piece of property and was one of the first of the early disciples to react to the need of the church. He sold his property and without any pre-conditions and gave the money to the Apostles. His first concern was to help the needy and not to cling to his own riches.

 

Here was Barnabas and the very first time we encounter him in the Bible he is found to be giving to the needs of others. He knew that the church needed what he was able to give. One can only imagine the encouragement this was to the young church.

 

It is interesting that of the key words in the Bible “give” is way ahead of the field. ‘Believed’ is used 272 times. ‘Pray’ is used 371 times. ‘Love’ is used 714 times and ‘Give’ is used 2,162 times. Remember God loves a cheerful giver. “And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (2Cor 9.7 NLT)

 

If you have been blessed with this world’s goods and wonder how you can serve the church be assured that this is one significant way you can help. Don’t withhold it – be a generous encourager. Encouragers are generous people. They are generous with their words. They are generous in their actions and they are generous with their finances.

 

 

BARNBAS WAS A FRIEND INDEED

 

Before his conversion Saul had acquired a daunting reputation. The word was out that when Saul arrived you would need to hide or you were doomed. So when the Christians heard that he was in town and speaking about his newfound faith they were understandably suspicious.

 

Sometimes when we hear of some notable sinner coming to Christ we too can become skeptical instead of rejoicing. The church knew that Saul had approved of the stoning of Stephen and had been involved in the capturing and imprisoning of Christians. Surely it was beyond reasonable expectation that he had made a complete U-turn and many suspected that this was part of some sinister plot to infiltrate the Christian church.

 

In Acts Chapter 9 we find two words, “but Barnabas”. He was a complete contrast to all the other disciples and apostles. Barnabas stretched out his hand to Saul. He alone believed the wonderful story of his conversion. He alone rejoiced in his salvation.

 

He was the first to offer Paul true Christian friendship following his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. He was the one who brought Paul to the Apostles and confirmed the story of his conversion. He was always looking out for someone that needed acceptance

 

Imagine Paul’s difficulty following his conversion. His former friends from the Sanhedrin regarded him as a traitor and rejected him. On the other hand the Christians whom he had previously persecuted were slow to accept him and suspicious of his motives. They found it difficult to believe that someone who had so vigorously persecuted the believers was now claiming to be one of them.

 

Barnabas discerned that God had done a true work in Paul’s life. He stuck his neck out and brought him to the leaders in Jerusalem. He argued so strongly for Paul that soon he was recognized as one of them. It was because of Barnabas that the Apostles eventually accepted Paul. What an encouragement he was to Paul.

 

If you struggle with your identity as a Christian because of you’re past and because you don’t look or sound like the average Christian and the people at church don’t readily accept you. You would certainly welcome a person like Barnabas to support and encourage you.

 

BARNABAS WAS SUPPORTIVE

 

As the church moved on and grew they faced new challenges. New churches and fields were opening with great potential and at the same time there was always the possibility of making serious errors. They needed leadership. They needed guidance and encouragement. And they looked to Barnabas. He was someone whom tender, frail, hurting people needed.

 

He was sensitive to their needs. He didn’t come to change them or their lifestyle. He didn’t come with a list of “do’s and don’ts”. He came and encouraged them. He assured them that God was with them and he was there to help them along in their journey

 

You and I will often find people who need encouragement. In our fast paced world it is easy to get sidetracked and to lose focus. Sometimes God brings along people who encourage us and urge us to persevere and to hang in there.

 

Many people were coming to the Lord. This was Barnabas’ moment. He was held in high esteem. He could have established himself as leader of a booming local church movement. Maybe this could have been the first St Barnabas Church. But this was not his style. He looked at his situation and realized that he needed help. So he went to Tarsus to find Paul and seek his help. He was not scared to share the limelight and his leadership role. He seeks out Paul recognizing his ability to take the fledgling church to a new level. In a world of ego-eccentrics and self-centred leaders it is refreshing to find an exception.

 

Even good people need a Barnabas. In a TV documentary on the life of Abraham Lincoln the presenter of the programme displayed a small blue box, which contained the contents of his pockets on the night of his assassination. Amongst the ordinary items were a few newspaper clippings

 

The clippings told of some of Lincoln greatest deeds. One of them quoted a speech by John Bright in which he described Lincoln as one of the greatest men of all time .In 1865 there were millions who held a contrary view. Lincoln’s critics were fierce and many. The country was in the midst of much suffering and turmoil and many blamed him for creating this dreadful situation.

 

There is something pathetic about this image of a great leader seeking the self-assurance that he received from a newspaper clipping. When his critics were roasting him and hanging him out to dry Abraham Lincoln found someone that believed in him and he kept the memory in his pocket that he could read and be encouraged in times of self-doubt.

 

You can be a Barnabas. You can be a great encourager. Write that long overdue letter. Write it to your child who is now an adult. Write to your pastor who faithfully teaches and inspires you each week. Write to your fellow-worker who has plodded along for years without any recognition. Don’t wait. Do it today.

 

Put your arms around your son or daughter and look into their eyes and tell them how much they mean to you. These are the words that they will remember and will be imbedded in their minds long after your days on earth are done.

 

BARNABAS WAS LOYAL

 

The last part of the story of Barnabas is featured in Acts 15. Barnabas is about to be put to a major test. Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on their first missionary journey. Sadly during this time John Mark deserted them and went AWOL. Now it was time for another missionary journey.

 

Barnabas wanted to take the young Mark with them. He saw this as an opportunity to prove himself and for restoration. Paul saw things differently. There was a strong disagreement. Barnabas insisted on taking Mark but Paul was adamantly opposed to it declaring that Mark was a defector who did not deserve a second chance

 

In spite of their differences Paul and Barnabas worked out a solution, which involved a compromise: Barnabas would take Mark with him on a mission trip whilst Paul would take Silas with him on another missionary journey. Later in his life Paul had a change of heart and his faith in Mark was restored and he wrote to the Colossians urging them to receive Mark when he came to them.

 

Mark must have been greatly encouraged when Barnabas defended him before the great Apostle. Imagine the feeling of acceptance that Barnabas gave to the young Mark. Years later Mark continued to serve and was responsible for the writing of the second gospel, which bears his name.

 

Do you know somebody that needs a second chance? Do you know someone who has well and truly blown it? Do you know someone who has ruined his own reputation and walked away from his promises? Do you know someone that has been in a spiritual wilderness and is now ready to return to the faith and is waiting for someone to open the door? Barnabas would say it is worth the risk. Aren’t you glad someone took the risk and gave you a second chance after you failed?

 

Barnabas was clearly an encourager. He encouraged by helping to restore those that had failed. Whether he used his own resources or personally got involved. He touched lives whenever he came in contact with people. His ministry of encouragement lifted people from the depths of rejection to the heights of the knowledge and presence of God. Many experienced victory in their walk with God because of Barnabas.

 

Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement is an example that we can aspire to when we encourage others and serve them and show them the living God. Barnabas’ life was dedicated to giving courage to others to go on and reach new heights. To what is your life dedicated?

 

 

 

THE GREAT ENCOURAGER

 

There is great power in words of encouragement. Power to motivate and transform the lives of individuals and power to shape the future. Never underestimate the encouraging words that you speak to change people’s lives.

 

One of the most significant personalities in the New Testament was neither a dynamic preacher nor an energetic evangelist or a tireless missionary. He was a simple, ordinary businessman named Barnabas.

 

Barnabas is mentioned 25 times in the Book of Acts and several times in the epistles. And each times he is mentioned he is doing exactly the same thing – he is encouraging.

 

The apostles called him Barnabas which literally means, “Son of Encouragement”

He had gained the reputation of encouraging people and of bringing hope and reassurance. He was determined to help and boost every person who crossed his path.

 

BARNABAS WAS GENEROUS

 

People in the early church were very poor. They were persecuted and discriminated against because of their faith. Some were instantly fired from their jobs and new young Christians were thrown out of their homes. Barnabas owned a piece of property and was one of the first of the early disciples to react to the need of the church. He sold his property and without any pre-conditions and gave the money to the Apostles. His first concern was to help the needy and not to cling to his own riches.

 

Here was Barnabas and the very first time we encounter him in the Bible he is found to be giving to the needs of others. He knew that the church needed what he was able to give. One can only imagine the encouragement this was to the young church.

 

It is interesting that of the key words in the Bible “give” is way ahead of the field. ‘Believed’ is used 272 times. ‘Pray’ is used 371 times. ‘Love’ is used 714 times and ‘Give’ is used 2,162 times. Remember God loves a cheerful giver. “And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (2Cor 9.7 NLT)

 

If you have been blessed with this world’s goods and wonder how you can serve the church be assured that this is one significant way you can help. Don’t withhold it – be a generous encourager. Encouragers are generous people. They are generous with their words. They are generous in their actions and they are generous with their finances.

 

 

BARNBAS WAS A FRIEND INDEED

 

Before his conversion Saul had acquired a daunting reputation. The word was out that when Saul arrived you would need to hide or you were doomed. So when the Christians heard that he was in town and speaking about his newfound faith they were understandably suspicious.

 

Sometimes when we hear of some notable sinner coming to Christ we too can become skeptical instead of rejoicing. The church knew that Saul had approved of the stoning of Stephen and had been involved in the capturing and imprisoning of Christians. Surely it was beyond reasonable expectation that he had made a complete U-turn and many suspected that this was part of some sinister plot to infiltrate the Christian church.

 

In Acts Chapter 9 we find two words, “but Barnabas”. He was a complete contrast to all the other disciples and apostles. Barnabas stretched out his hand to Saul. He alone believed the wonderful story of his conversion. He alone rejoiced in his salvation.

 

He was the first to offer Paul true Christian friendship following his dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus. He was the one who brought Paul to the Apostles and confirmed the story of his conversion. He was always looking out for someone that needed acceptance

 

Imagine Paul’s difficulty following his conversion. His former friends from the Sanhedrin regarded him as a traitor and rejected him. On the other hand the Christians whom he had previously persecuted were slow to accept him and suspicious of his motives. They found it difficult to believe that someone who had so vigorously persecuted the believers was now claiming to be one of them.

 

Barnabas discerned that God had done a true work in Paul’s life. He stuck his neck out and brought him to the leaders in Jerusalem. He argued so strongly for Paul that soon he was recognized as one of them. It was because of Barnabas that the Apostles eventually accepted Paul. What an encouragement he was to Paul.

 

If you struggle with your identity as a Christian because of you’re past and because you don’t look or sound like the average Christian and the people at church don’t readily accept you. You would certainly welcome a person like Barnabas to support and encourage you.

 

BARNABAS WAS SUPPORTIVE

 

As the church moved on and grew they faced new challenges. New churches and fields were opening with great potential and at the same time there was always the possibility of making serious errors. They needed leadership. They needed guidance and encouragement. And they looked to Barnabas. He was someone whom tender, frail, hurting people needed.

 

He was sensitive to their needs. He didn’t come to change them or their lifestyle. He didn’t come with a list of “do’s and don’ts”. He came and encouraged them. He assured them that God was with them and he was there to help them along in their journey

 

You and I will often find people who need encouragement. In our fast paced world it is easy to get sidetracked and to lose focus. Sometimes God brings along people who encourage us and urge us to persevere and to hang in there.

 

Many people were coming to the Lord. This was Barnabas’ moment. He was held in high esteem. He could have established himself as leader of a booming local church movement. Maybe this could have been the first St Barnabas Church. But this was not his style. He looked at his situation and realized that he needed help. So he went to Tarsus to find Paul and seek his help. He was not scared to share the limelight and his leadership role. He seeks out Paul recognizing his ability to take the fledgling church to a new level. In a world of ego-eccentrics and self-centred leaders it is refreshing to find an exception.

 

Even good people need a Barnabas. In a TV documentary on the life of Abraham Lincoln the presenter of the programme displayed a small blue box, which contained the contents of his pockets on the night of his assassination. Amongst the ordinary items were a few newspaper clippings

 

The clippings told of some of Lincoln greatest deeds. One of them quoted a speech by John Bright in which he described Lincoln as one of the greatest men of all time .In 1865 there were millions who held a contrary view. Lincoln’s critics were fierce and many. The country was in the midst of much suffering and turmoil and many blamed him for creating this dreadful situation.

 

There is something pathetic about this image of a great leader seeking the self-assurance that he received from a newspaper clipping. When his critics were roasting him and hanging him out to dry Abraham Lincoln found someone that believed in him and he kept the memory in his pocket that he could read and be encouraged in times of self-doubt.

 

You can be a Barnabas. You can be a great encourager. Write that long overdue letter. Write it to your child who is now an adult. Write to your pastor who faithfully teaches and inspires you each week. Write to your fellow-worker who has plodded along for years without any recognition. Don’t wait. Do it today.

 

Put your arms around your son or daughter and look into their eyes and tell them how much they mean to you. These are the words that they will remember and will be imbedded in their minds long after your days on earth are done.

 

BARNABAS WAS LOYAL

 

The last part of the story of Barnabas is featured in Acts 15. Barnabas is about to be put to a major test. Paul and Barnabas took John Mark with them on their first missionary journey. Sadly during this time John Mark deserted them and went AWOL. Now it was time for another missionary journey.

 

Barnabas wanted to take the young Mark with them. He saw this as an opportunity to prove himself and for restoration. Paul saw things differently. There was a strong disagreement. Barnabas insisted on taking Mark but Paul was adamantly opposed to it declaring that Mark was a defector who did not deserve a second chance

 

In spite of their differences Paul and Barnabas worked out a solution, which involved a compromise: Barnabas would take Mark with him on a mission trip whilst Paul would take Silas with him on another missionary journey. Later in his life Paul had a change of heart and his faith in Mark was restored and he wrote to the Colossians urging them to receive Mark when he came to them.

 

Mark must have been greatly encouraged when Barnabas defended him before the great Apostle. Imagine the feeling of acceptance that Barnabas gave to the young Mark. Years later Mark continued to serve and was responsible for the writing of the second gospel, which bears his name.

 

Do you know somebody that needs a second chance? Do you know someone who has well and truly blown it? Do you know someone who has ruined his own reputation and walked away from his promises? Do you know someone that has been in a spiritual wilderness and is now ready to return to the faith and is waiting for someone to open the door? Barnabas would say it is worth the risk. Aren’t you glad someone took the risk and gave you a second chance after you failed?

 

Barnabas was clearly an encourager. He encouraged by helping to restore those that had failed. Whether he used his own resources or personally got involved. He touched lives whenever he came in contact with people. His ministry of encouragement lifted people from the depths of rejection to the heights of the knowledge and presence of God. Many experienced victory in their walk with God because of Barnabas.

 

Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement is an example that we can aspire to when we encourage others and serve them and show them the living God. Barnabas’ life was dedicated to giving courage to others to go on and reach new heights. To what is your life dedicated?

Check out this book on Encouragement

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AUTHOR: Nico Bougas

Nico and Bee Bougas are currently serving as missionaries with Hellenic Ministries, a mission to Greece and the nations. They are acting as International Coordinators developing the work around the globe.

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