Cover 2016-07-24

Ron Writes

Encouragers Change Lives!

His name says it all. Not his real name, which was Joseph. Not the name, “Zeus,” that the pagans gave him. It was the name given him by the apostles, “Barnabas,” that says it all. He was the “son of Encouragement.”

Encouragers change lives! Barnabas changed lives.

At the inception of the church Jerusalem swelled with new Christians. Who could feed so many? The brevity of the text conceals the costliness of the sacrifice. Barnabas sold his property. Encouragers are generous.

Later, after Saul was converted, the church was still afraid of Saul. “But Barnabas took hold of him.” Barnabas came to Saul’s side. He befriended him. He defended him. What if he hadn’t? That friendship may have changed the history of the church and the world. Saul needed encouragement.

Antioch was the 3rd largest city in the world in the first century. Gentiles were being converted there. Who does the church in Jerusalem send to help and encourage them? Of course, they sent Barnabas. Barnabas realizes he has just the man to help in Antioch. He went searching for Saul in his home town of Tarsus. Why was Saul back in Tarsus? Had he gotten discouraged? Did he find it hard to accept God’s forgiveness after all that he had done? We’ll never know, but Barnabas lets him know that he’s still needed, God is not done with him yet.

Barnabas and Paul will become missionaries together. Some men are great because others encouraged them.

When John Mark disappointed Paul, Barnabas stood up for him. He was willing to give Mark a second chance. What a difference encouragement made in the life of Mark. If not for Barnabas would we still have the Gospel of Mark?

It’s been said that no sermon ever preached, no book ever written, no hymn ever composed impacted the history of the world like Barnabas. He changed lives!

“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thes. 5:11). “Let us encourage one another” (Heb. 10:25). “Encourage one another daily” (Heb. 3:13). Be like Barnabas and look for the best in others, not the worst. Be positive, even the mean dog “sure does have pretty teeth.” Look for opportunities to encourage. If they’re doing a good job, tell them so. You can change a life!