26. Be A Barnabas! - 1 Thessalonians 5:14
1 Thessalonians 5:14 - And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Who is Joseph of Cyprus? The name sounds vaguely familiar but does not ring a bell. Perhaps you know him best by his nickname: Barnabas (Ding Ding, the bell starts ringing). This nickname means "son of encouragement." He was the one who took Paul under his wing. He also encouraged his cousin, John Mark, who later wrote the gospel according to Mark.
So often times we can be opinionated and critical of people and programs in the church. Sometimes we let our opinions keep others from growing stronger in Christ. Sometimes the light stops shining through us because we have become so bitter or frustrated in with others.
Barnabas was patient. He knew that it takes time for a seed to germinate and grow and mature and produce fruit. He encouraged the growth in others all along the way. He put his arm around those who were discouraged. He was ready to help if someone needed help but he did not jump in and try to do it all himself. He gave admonition to those who were not right, including Paul, but he did it in a way that bore fruit in his life and the life of the one he admonished.
We need to be a Barnabas, a son or daughter of encouragement. In fact, everyone needs a Barnabas in their life. I can think of many who played the role of Barnabas in helping me to grow in faith. I treasure those who still encourage me today.
I want to be a son of encouragement. I want to shine the light of Jesus for those outside the church and for my brothers and sisters in the church. I hope you will strive to be a Barnabas too.
May God bless you today as you shine the light of encouragement and hope to others.
PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear God, I praise you, Lord, because you are water to my thirsty soul. You give me strength and encouragement. I want to thank you for all the sons of encouragement that you have sent in my life. Help me to encourage others and not be so judgmental and opinionated. In Jesus' name, AMEN!