Throughout the Book of Acts, we read about a disciple of Christ named Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” His name indicates the kind of impact he had on those in the early church and those he witnessed to on his many missionary trips with the apostle Paul.
Here are some examples of what Barnabas said and did in his travels:
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. —Acts 11:22
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. —Acts 11:25-26
This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul. —Acts 11:30
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. —Acts 13:43
These verses give us a glimpse into why Barnabas was called “son of encouragement.” He was the one who was good at talking to people. He was good at seeing the gifts present in Paul and saw the value of inviting Paul along with him in his work. He was happy to receive the gifts from people to spread the Gospel further. He took the time to talk more in-depth with people after his formal speech.
How can you be a Barnabas, a son or daughter of encouragement, in your life today. One way is to be on the lookout, as Barnabas was, for the gifts in others. Then encourage people to use those gifts to God’s glory. And don’t be afraid to join them in using those gifts, standing beside them to support them along the way.
Another act of encouragement is be open and available when people want to talk more, as Barnabas was. Be there to listen. Be there to care. Be there to take an interest in the lives of people. Keep urging them on in their work for the Lord and in their living in God’s grace.
Who can you be a Barnabas to today?