Encouragement means to come alongside to help. The word “encourage” is used in the Bible to mean: to make strong; to cheer up or cause to smile; to urge forward or motivate toward goals; and to move alongside with Biblical counsel.
Joseph was a man in the early church who was such an encourager that the people renamed him “Barnabas” meaning “the son of encouragement.” Here are four ways in Scripture that Barnabas was an encourager.
1) BARNABAS LOOKS OUT FOR THE NEEDS OF OTHERS
Acts 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 35. And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 36. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, 37. Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
- When people were starving, Barnabas sold some land so that the money could be distributed to meet needs
2) BARNABAS LOOKS OUT FOR NEW CONVERTS
- Barnabas was a sponsor to Saul, a young convert who was caught in “nowhere land.”
- His Jewish friends had rejected him because of his conversion
- The Christian population did not trust him because of his aggressive persecution of Christians.
- Barnabas proved to be that needed friend in a critical hour. As a result, Saul (Paul) was received and accepted by the early church.
3) BARNABAS GIVES OTHERS THEIR FIRST CHANCE
- Barnabas encouraged Saul by asking him to help in ministry. Barnabas was sent to Antioch to encourage the new church work there but soon found out that he needed help.
- He traveled all the way to Tarsus, found Saul and gave him a piece of the ministry in Antioch.
4) BARNABAS GIVES OTHERS A SECOND CHANCE – Acts 15:35-41
- Barnabas encouraged John Mark by giving him a second chance in ministry. For whatever reason, he quit the first missionary journey with Paul and Barnabas and went home. Later when it was time to launch another missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take John Mark while Paul had written him off. They parted company over the issue, but Barnabas took John Mark and built into his life as they ministered together in Cypress.
- Defeated people need encouraging people to give them second chances.
THE BARNABAS CHALLENGE
None of us are ever going to write a book of the Bible like the Apostle Paul, but every one of us can be an encourager like Barnabas. Would you take the Barnabas challenge? You have to intentionally encourage people in a significant way for ten consecutive days.
- Write a note.
- Send a card.
- Give a gift.
- Buy a meal.
- Perform an act of kindness.
- Give a second chance.
- Forgive a debt.
- Reach out to a hurting person.
This series is loosely based off Leonard Sweet’s book by 11: Indispensable Relationships You Can’t Be Without and the preaching notes of my friend, Shawn Stickler, Lead Pastor of The Pentecostals of Quinte in Belleville, ON. I have also personalized these outlines with my own thoughts and stories.
FRIENDS OF THE BIBLE SERIES
LESSON ONE: WHO’S YOUR JONATHAN? YOU NEED A TRUE FRIEND!
LESSON TWO: WHO’S YOUR NATHAN? YOU NEED AN EDITOR!
LESSON THREE: WHO’S YOUR JETHRO? YOU NEED A MOTIVATOR!
LESSON FOUR: WHO’S YOUR DEBORAH? YOU NEED A PROTECTOR!
LESSON FIVE: WHO’S YOUR BARNABAS? YOU NEED AN ENCOURAGER!
LESSON SIX: WHO’S YOUR RHODA? YOU NEED A LITTLE ONE!
LESSON SEVEN: WHO’S YOUR PAUL/PETER? YOU NEED A MENTOR!