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Being an Encourager

However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the Lord Jesus.  The power of the Lord was with them, and a large number of these Gentiles believed and turned to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch.  When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord.  Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.1


I am sure we have all been given a nickname at one time or another. Many times, these names have to do with a characteristic that we display. This was the case with Barnabas whom we see in today’s passage. At birth, his name was Joseph, but the apostles called him Barnabas, which literally means “Son of encouragement”. What an amazing man he must have been for others to detect this evident gift that he possessed. Barnabas not only possessed this gift, but he put it to good use. We see him throughout Paul’s ministry going from one place to another encouraging others to keep going, giving hope where needed, and always trying to see the best in others.


There is something about praise and encouragement that, although we may find hard to believe or accept, never leaves our hearts or minds. I speak from experience when I say that we could all use a Barnabas in our lives, but sometimes in order to have a Barnabas, we first need to be a Barnabas. Today I want to encourage you to be an encourager. To be one of those people who encourage others on to greater things in the kingdom of God.


The Duke of Wellington, a famous military leader who defeated Napoleon was asked at the end of his life if he had any regrets. He said that if he had a regret it was that he did not give more praise. Someone once said, “flatter me and I may not believe you, criticize me and I may not like you, ignore me and I may not forgive you, praise me and I will not forget you.” This should definitely be a goal for all of us this year. Find ways to daily encourage others to stay true to the Lord, to keep moving forward, to see their strengths instead of weaknesses, and in so doing that they may also be an encourager to others.


Suggested prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, help me be like Barnabas. Life is so hard as it is, and many people struggle on a daily basis just to find the hope they need to keep going. I pray that you would lead me and give me the words to be an encourager to everyone I meet. I also pray that at times when I need encouragement, that you would also allow me to surround myself with “Barnabas’” who will motivate me to stay true to You. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Acts 11:19-24 (NLT).

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.