His real name was Joseph, but according to Acts 4:39, the early apostles saw his heart, experienced his character, witnessed his countenance, and decided to nickname him Barnabus, Son of Encouragement.

Earlier this week, a pastor mentioned that without Barnabus and his ministry of encouragement to a new believer, we might not have the great apostle Paul.  If Paul needed encouragement in his life, how much more do we need those kinds of friends in our lives?  And conversely, how many people do we come across daily that could really use us stepping into their lives and being a Barnabus to them?

Encouragement is like a massive shot of spiritual and emotional B12.  A long distance runner finishes a race because on the last leg he hears a shout of encouragement from a familiar voice.  A child remembers his lines in a school play because he catches the encouraging look from his loving Mom.  A soldier is encouraged to fight on because of the constant memories of a place called home.

Anyone can be a critic.  Cynics are a dime a dozen.  The highway of life is scattered by those in bitterness and anger that have simply given up.  It takes a different kind of person to be a Barnabus, one that is not interested in personal promotion or the accolades of society.  This person is one who has died to self but takes great joy in sacrificial service to others.  Position, titles, places of prominence, and trophies does not interest a Barnabus.
What he loves to see is others run the race to completion, encouraging them along the way and enthusiastically greeting them at the finish line.  He is simply thrilled at seeing others accomplish much in life.

Someone you know is about to become a casualty.  Someone you know is nearing the place of buckling under to the overwhelming weight of defeat.  Someone you know has the white flag of surrender in his hand and is about to raise it.  Someone you know needs you to be the unexpected joyful source of encouragement for them. So for that someone, step up to the plate and be Barnabus to them.  For God’s glory and for someone’s good, be there with a word of encouragement.  Go ahead, pick up the phone and call them, text them, e-mail them, send them a snail-mail letter, or better yet visit them fact to face.  To borrow the words of the famous Nike advertisement, “Just do it!”

It is a joy to be on this journey with you.

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