Hebrews 10:25 – Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV)
Acts 11:23 – When he came and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast devotion. (NRSV)
Barnabas, whose name means "son of encouragement," was a man who gave encouragement and consolation to his friends, becoming one of the most respected persons in the church in Jerusalem. Barnabas was the mentor of the apostle Paul. He encouraged the Jerusalem church to accept Paul as an apostle of Christ, convincing them that he was sincere. He became John Mark's mentor when Paul refused to take him on a missionary journey.
Where would we find Barnabas in our modern-day church?
In my church, Barnabas greets people at the door — especially children, with a piece of candy. To the little children, he's the candy man who encourages them to come to Sunday School. To the adults, he's the friend who visits them in the hospital and at home when they are sick, lifting their spirits. To others, he's an encourager — asking people to take positions that he thinks they are capable of handling, then encouraging them along the way. To the pastor, he's an uplifter and a right arm, and is sometimes known to say "Amen" in agreement.
Every church needs a Barnabas. Lives of individuals and churches can be changed by a few words of encouragement. If you want proof of the value of encouragement, attend a sports event and watch the cheerleaders.
Prayer: Lord, You know how much we all need encouragement. Help us to be encouragers, as Barnabas was. Help us to build up Your kingdom with encouragement. Amen.