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Son of Encouragement

Dr. Bill Korver, President CCBS

Encourage Mint

There’s an old and true saying that says, “Some people brighten a room when they enter it, others when they leave it.” You know the two types of people: the encourager who lifts your spirits when you’re in their presence, and the Debbie Downer or Ebenezer Scrooge who makes you want to look for the nearest exit.

In the New Testament book of Acts, a history of the birth and growth of the early church, we meet an encourager. His birth name was Joseph, but since he was such an encourager, people began to call him “Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). From that point on in the book of Acts, he is seen only a few times, but always encouraging others.

In Acts 4:37, we are informed that he sold a piece of property he owned and gave the entire sale price to the leaders of the church in Jerusalem to distribute to the needy believers there. Imagine being one of those folks, down on your luck and you were informed that the church would be able to buy you groceries because of the generosity of Barnabas!

A few chapters and years later, we read of the miraculous conversion of Saul. Once a murderer of Christians and hater of Christ, he was gloriously saved (Acts 9). The problem was, no one believed it. Paul, as became known later, couldn’t get them to believe he was one of them. Acts 9:26 says, “…he was trying to associate with the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.” Who can blame them? Yet he really was a new man.

Here comes our friend Barnabas again. The next verse says he put his arm around Paul and told the others of Paul’s salvation experience, that he truly was a brother in Christ (9:27). The result? Paul had freedom to fellowship and minister in Jerusalem (9:28) and later would be used by the Holy Spirit to write thirteen of the New Testament’s books! All of us know someone who’s in need of a smile, a pat on the back, perhaps they have a financial need we can meet or some other kindness we should extend. Will you commit today to be a Barnabas to someone else and make a habit of it?