Listen to this devotional:
Acts 11:26b – 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. (NIV)
Barnabas is one of my favourite people in the Bible. He always seemed to do the right thing at the right time. When his Christian community needed money to survive, he sold his property and helped to sustain them. When no one else would trust Saul, Barnabas befriended him and taught with him. Barnabas was a great encourager, so it's no surprise to me that he happened to be teaching in the very place where followers of Jesus were called Christians for the first time. Barnabas was and still is a great example of what it means to be a Christian.
Encouragement is something that we can use each day, but it's also a gift that we in the church could do better at sharing. As a pastor, I have seen people come and go to church as they please, and I wish, for their sakes, that they could be more regular worshippers. I guess they are just waiting for the right word of invitation and encouragement, acceptance and love.
Perhaps today, our mission is to be a Barnabas amongst our families and friends. An encouraging word goes a long way, even amongst Christians.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to reach out to those who find it difficult to be in church on Sunday mornings. Enable us to encourage and embrace them, and not treat them as outsiders or backsliders. May we see and accept them as God's children and Your followers. Remind us also that we are far from being perfect ourselves. In Your holy name, we sincerely pray. Amen.