Pillars four and five of our eight pillars of culture may seem similar. Pillar four is To Inspire and Pillar 5 is To Encourage. While similar the two have some distinct differences. We may inspire people to begin a journey or achieve a goal, but they may still need some encouragement along the way. In doing my research this week, I found an awesome definition of the word encourage. It said to “hearten”. To me this means to lift up at a heart level. It is good to help someone up physically if they have fallen, but when we lift someone up by the heart, they find courage to continue, to keep fighting, to refuse to be defeated, despite the circumstances or situation they face.
Encouraging is scriptural. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." We all know someone who needs to be spurred on or heartened. Maybe they have all the skill or talent in the world, but life has just gotten them down a bit. Maybe they are just tired or feeling burnt out. We can be the solution to their problems.
I want us to look to the word as we devise a specific plan of how we can be an encourager to others. Who better to look to than “the son of encouragement,” Barnabas? Barnabas’s given name was Joseph. The name Barnabas was given to him by disciples. It was an Aramaic expression meaning, “son of encouragement.
I want to look at three aspects of Barnabas life that we can replicate daily making us encouragers:
1. Barnabas was a Giver – In Acts Ch 4., we learn that Barnabas was a landowner who sold some of his property and gave the money to the Apostles in Jerusalem. The church at Jerusalem was growing-rapidly and there were many needs. The money that Barnabas gave was an indication of his love for the Lord, and his faith in the people who made up the church.
We may not be landowners, but our gifts don’t have to be financial. Gifts can include time, attention, a kind word and a listening ear. Often, these are the most encouraging things we can give.
2. Barnabas was a faithful friend – In Acts 9:26-27, we see the impact Barnabas’ friendship had on the ministry of Paul. After the conversion of Saul to Paul, Paul initially had a very difficult time getting many people, including the apostles, to believe that he had truly converted. Most people were very afraid of Saul. It was goodhearted Barnabas that carried Paul to the apostles and testified of his conversion which allowed him to move about freely in Christian circles in Jerusalem.
Who can we be that kind of friend to? Who needs us to speak up for them, support them or maybe just hug them? Barnabas helped Paul spread the gospel to thousands upon thousands, by just being a good friend.
3. Barnabas the encourager – In Acts Ch 11 Christians had been scattered because of the persecution and many ended up in Antioch. They evangelized to many including the gentiles. Leaders of the church in Jerusalem were a bit concerned about this and they sent Barnabas to check it out. He was so delighted he began to strongly encourage Christians there to “keep pressing on in their faith”. Barnabas was so encouraged by what he saw he “exhorted” (encouraged) believers to stay true to the Lord.
From time to time, we all need someone in our lives who has a giving heart. We often need a faithful friend, and we all need words of encouragement. If we need these things, it stands to reason that those around us do as well. Let’s go out today and commit to being to others what we need ourselves. I think we will be amazed at how this impacts our workplace, our culture, and our lives.
Great podcast interview with a Mid South team member coming on Friday. I hope you will join on Apple Itunes, Spotify or Stitcher.
Have an awesome week!