In the message “The Example of Barnabas” we saw how Barnabas played an essential role in Paul’s ministry. He boldly introduced Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9:27), and then searched for Paul when he fled Jerusalem to his home town of Tarsus (Acts 11:25-26). After taking Paul to Antioch, Barnabas remained with him for several years while they encouraged the church…and each other.
Being an encourager was a way of life for Barnabas. His name was originally Joseph, but prior to even meeting Paul, the apostles had begun to call him “Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement)” (Acts 4:36). Barnabas was able to evaluate other people according to their ability in Christ – an ability determined by the strength of Jesus and not hindered by past failures. This allowed Barnabas to see great potential where others saw only weakness, and to encourage when others had given up.
Barnabas went with Paul on his first missionary journey where they jointly proclaimed the name of Jesus wherever they went. Another young man, named Mark, began this first missionary journey with Paul but then turned back (Acts 13:13). This apparent lack of perseverance bothered Paul so much that when he began his second missionary trip he refused to take Mark along.
“Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus.”
Barnabas saw the Christ-given potential in young Mark and encouraged him as he had done with Paul many years before. As a result, Mark matured in his ministry and faithfully continued in his service to Jesus. He ministered along side the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 5:13), was reunited with Paul (Colossians 4:10, Philemon 24), and later wrote an account of the life of Jesus – the Gospel of Mark.
The early church faced many difficulties – many opportunities for discouragement – but God used Barnabas to strengthen those who had been called to the front lines of battle. We can’t all stand up and preach in front of large crowds or travel as missionaries to foreign lands, but we ALL have the ability to encourage those whom God places in our path.
The world is full of people crying out for someone to care for and believe in them. Individual lives can be changed, families can be restored, entire communities and even nations can be turned toward God, if each of us will encourage others to draw closer to our Heavenly Father, to love Him more, and to trust Him with all their heart. Let’s share the love of Jesus and effectively minister by seeing others, and then taking action, as a Son of Encouragement.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
May 10 1 Samuel 8:1-9:27; John 6:22-46; Psalm 106:32-48; Proverbs 14:34-35