Scripture Passage: Acts 4:36-37
The Book of Acts tells the story of a man called Barnabas. His name means “son of encouragement.” And there are five characteristics that make Barnabas the church member of any pastor’s dreams.
First, he was a load lifter. In Acts 4:36, Barnabas meets a need by selling his property and giving the profits to the church. He saw a load and he decided to lift it. Encouragers understand that we all have something to give. Encouragers find out what it is that can be used to lift another’s burdens and offer it.
Encouragers are also friend finders. After the Apostle Paul’s conversion, he was despised by his old colleagues, but feared by his new brothers and sisters in Christ. He was a man who needed a friend. Barnabas found him and became a friend to this very lonely new disciple. A lot of new Christians need somebody to find and friend them. An encourager finds the lonely and neglected, puts an arm around them, and brings them into the fold.
Encouragers are also bridge builders. Barnabas knew the old and he saw the new; he was used to link the past to the future. Adrian Rogers says, “Barnabas believed in the tradition, but he believed in the frontier. And he was used by God to mold it all together. He was a bridge builder.”
Encouragers are disciple developers. Barnabas often found buried gifts in new disciples and he brought these hidden talents out of them. There are people in our churches with gifts and abilities that need to be discovered and developed. But it takes a “Barnabas” to find them.
Finally, encouragers are failure fixers. After the disciple Mark ran away from his calling, Barnabas sought him out and gave him another chance. This young disciple went on to write the Gospel of Mark.
Thank God for Barnabas, who strove to fix this failure with words of encouragement. And thank God for the encouragers in our churches, who see second chances in us when no one else does.
Apply it to your life
Would you consider yourself to be a church member of your pastor’s dreams? Are you an encourager like Barnabas — a load lifter, friend finder, bridge builder, disciple developer and a failure fixer?