What do your eyes see in other people’s lives? What does your mouth say when you see what God is doing in other people’s lives? My brother, my sister, take the opportunity to encourage throse with whom you come in contact today. You see, there is a real problem in our churches today: many people don’t understand that it is not everyone who is meant to preach, teach, sing or even be in the spotlight at church. Many believers want to be at the foreground in their church, and secretly cannot appreciate what God is doing in their own lives or in the lives of people around them. Now, we see that Barnabas’ actions were done in the background, yet they were crucial for the early church, and therefore we can even thank him for most of the New Testament.
The Bible tells us that when Paul arrived in Jerusalem for the first time after his conversion, the local Christians were reluctant to welcome him, thinking it was his new trick to capture more Christians. But Barnabas took the risk to meet with Paul and then convinced the others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus (Acts 9:27). My friend, today ask yourself what might have happened to Paul without Barnabas. The same, it was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with him and Paul to Antioch and they walked together for some time until they separated when Barnabas went with Mark and Paul with Silas, thus actually doubling the missionary efforts at their time. Yes, Barnabas’ silent and patient encouragement was a huge boost for the effectiveness of Mark’s ministry. There is no book of Barnabas in the Bible, yet, he was a great help to those around him, that is the reason why he was called a good man: “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord” (Acts 11:23-24). Today, many people label themselves “good”, while the Bible tells us this man was a good man because of what he was doing: encouraging people to remain true to the Lord!
My friend, like Barnabas, we are often presented with situations where there is someone who needs encouragement, where we have an opportunity to be good before the sight of God. Yet, our tendency is always prompting us to criticize people first. It may be important and necessary at times to point out someone’s shortcomings, but before we have the right to do this, we must build that person’s trust through encouragement. My friend, Barnabas trusted and believed in Paul’s ministry at the risk of his life instead of criticizing him, reminding him of his past or else wondering if this man had really changed as he was saying. This is also the faith: believing in what God is doing in the lives of others! Yes, Barnabas was so dedicated to what he could do well, encouraging others, that true obedience to God urged him to take physical and financial risks to support other people’s ministries. And today, he is known by his nickname rather than by his real name: “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:36-37).
I pray that God sends you a Barnabas who will encourage you in your situation or your ministry and in whatever God wants to do through you for His glory! I also pray that, like Barnabas, you may accept to be the son or daugther of encouragement for your church: you may not be in the limelight of men, it does not mean that you are not for Jesus, the head of the Church. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.