Theme of the Week: Encouragement Changes Lives
Bible Verse: “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” Acts 11:24
Scripture Reading: Acts 4:32-37; 11:19-25
It is possible to be an encouragement to the people that you meet. In the first century church, one man so embodied the characteristics of intentional encouragement that he was given a new name – Barnabas, which means ‘son of encouragement.’
Imagine being known as a person who so personifies an encouraging spirit that your friends would give you a new name. That indicates the character of Barnabas. He was a man who truly lived out his intimate relationship with Jesus the Savior who is Himself the perfect encourager. How did Barnabas become such an encourager? No one forced him to live and act that way. There are two obvious reasons:
- Barnabas deliberately nurtured a growing intimate faith relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
- He worshipped and served God out of a community of Jesus’ disciples who continuously encouraged one another as they were empowered by the Holy Spirit.
It is the purpose of God that each of us should grow into Christ-likeness so that we possess and demonstrate the character traits that describe the person of Barnabas in the first-century church.
Generous. Barnabas did more than give generously to others. He was a generous man. His very heart expressed generosity.
Good. The word for good, agathos refers to the character of someone. Barnabas was good because he possessed the inner character of God.
Spiritually Mature. He invited the Holy Spirit to direct his life and develop the qualities of Christ in him.
Faith-full. Barnabas was a man full of faith. In his daily living, he really did place his total trust in the hands of God. He had great confidence that God would transform the lives of all who put their trust in Christ.
Person of Integrity. Barnabas lived with transparency and complete honesty. What he revealed in public, he lived the same in private.
Warm-Hearted and Empathetic. Barnabas expressed love, even for those who were unwanted by others.
Dare to be a Barnabas – a gracious follower of Jesus who always seeks to understand the hearts of others and is willing to believe in their God-given potential. This does not mean that you should accept sin and wrong attitudes in others. It does mean that you care enough to lovingly and firmly confront them for their own good and for the glory of God. When you believe strongly in what a person can become, you treat them according to what they can be instead of what they have done in the past.
Taken from Majesty in Motion: Creating an Encouragement Culture in All Your Relationships Stewart Brown, © 2009. Used by permission of Word Alive Press. All rights reserved.
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