Scripture Passage: Acts 4:34
The Book of Acts tells the story of a man called Barnabas, which translates to, “son of encouragement.” Five characteristics of Barnabas’ “gift of encouragement” show us how to be encouragers for others.
First, Barnabas saw a need that he could meet, and he met it.
In Acts 4:36-37, Barnabas sold his property and gave the profits to the church. He decided to meet the needs of others with the resources God had given him, no matter what it cost him. Encouragers understand that we all have something to give. Encouragers find needy people and enrich them through their money, time, or service.
Second, encouragers find lonely people and include them.
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 befriend them. An encourager finds the lonely and neglected, puts an arm around them, and brings them into the fold.
Encouragers will also find a misunderstood person and affirm him.
In Acts 11, the Gospel was spreading quickly, and new believers were sprouting up everywhere. There were some concerns that some of them were not sincere. But Barnabas’s encouragement validated and affirmed those who were misunderstood.
Encouragers develop disciples.
Barnabas found buried gifts in new disciples and helped them develop their talents.
Our churches are full of talented people with abilities waiting to be discovered and developed. But it takes a “Barnabas” to find them.
Finally, encouragers help failures find second chances.
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 the encouragers in our churches who see second chances in us when no one else does.
Adrian Rogers says, “Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost; it was God in Him. Because you see God has cornered the consolation on consolation.”
We can all be encouragers like Barnabas. Ask God to fan the Holy Spirit in you to meet needs, befriend lonely people, affirm the misunderstood, develop disciples, and offer second chances.