The one person in the New Testament that I preached the most about, apart from Jesus, was Barnabas. I wanted to preach every year on him, some aspect of his life and ministry. Sadly, I didn’t do that. For he’s a worthy role-model for each of us and deserves at least one sermon a year! So, for the next few postings(we’re travelling now so postings will not be daily, just occasionally as intended from the outset), I want to talk about Barnabas. He’s first mentioned in this text of Acts 4 as a kind of worthy personal example and footnote to what the early church first looked like –a united group of believers in Jesus the Living Son of God, they shared all they had, they witnessed about the Risen Jesus where ever they went and with whomever they met, no one had unmet needs, they shared willingly and tangibly and generously. The church at its beginnings is at its very best. And then in verse 36 we’re introduced to one of the members of the church who personifies all the qualities of the new life in Christ, exhibiting in his being the fruit of the Holy Spirit. His name was Joseph…in the line of others with that name who were courageous for God, heroes in both the Old and New Testaments. A worthy name with prayers from his parents for a life that would match the good name of Joseph. He was a Levite, we’re told. They were men of the tribe of Levi, who served the Lord assisting the priests in the Temple in Jerusalem. They were servants, assistants, helpers and up-lifters of others. Joseph did not serve in the Temple growing up as his parents had moved far away. We learn that he was from Cyprus, where there were many Gentiles living among the Jewish community there. He could mix-it up with people who were different from himself and his group. He knew what life was like in the real world. This Joseph was not raised in some cloister or monastery. The apostles loved this Joseph. They even gave him a nickname, one that fit him to a tee. They called him Barnabbas, which means ‘Son of Encouragement’! What a worthy nickname! It fit so well with Joseph that never again is he referred to as Joseph in the Book of Acts. Now and always, Barnabas, the Son of Encouragement! He must have been someone who uplifted everyone he came in contact with. Saw the best in people, gave others a second chance, thought before he spoke, was kind more than critical. We’ll hear more of this in future blog postings. Isn’t he a worthy role-model? I’d like to be more like Barnabas. And to be honest, I have a long-ways to go. There’s an edge to me that sometimes feels harsh. Anybody else with me? Am I the only one? Be honest now. I’m challenging myself now– why not look for opportunities to encourage someone today. Think of ways to say ‘thank you’ and ‘God loves you’. You’ll have the opportunity…oh,wouldn’t it be nice to be called Barnabas!