Apart from Jesus, there was one person in the New Testament that I preached on most often. Can you guess? If it was Barnabas, you get a gold medal. Try to collect!
He’s a worthy role model. Barnabas. He’s first mentioned in Acts chapter four. Might want to read the entire chapter. You’ll discover the church at its very beginning, at its very best. Uniting in prayer, sharing what they owned, telling others about the Lord Jesus, no one having unmet needs. In verse 36 we’re introduced to one of the members, who personifies all the best qualities of new life in Christ. His name was Joseph. I’m sure he was named ‘Joseph’ as a prayer of his parents that his life would mirror Joseph in the Old Testament.
This Joseph was a Levite. Of the family of Levi, who served the Lord by assisting the priests in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Servants, assistants, who stood alongside others with encouragement and help. He was from the island of Cyprus, off the Mediterranean coast. Many Gentiles lived there amidst a large, robust Jewish community. He could mix-it-up with those who were different from himself. He knew what life was like in the real world.
All the apostles loved Joseph. They even gave him a nickname, one which fit him to a tee. They called him ‘Barnabas’, which means ‘Son of Encouragement’! A worthy name! Fit like a glove, with Joseph never again called by his given name in the New Testament. Now, and always, ‘the Son of Encouragement’–Barnabas! He must have given a lift to all who came in contact with him. Saw the very best in people. Gave others a second chance. Thought before he spoke. Was kind rather than nitpicky and cutting. A worthy role model? Who wouldn’t want to be more like Barnabas? Wouldn’t you?
Really? Then look for opportunities that come your way. To say a kind word. Offer an uplifting thought. Help someone in need. Bite your tongue! Tell someone about Jesus. Wouldn’t it be nice to be like Barnabas? What’s stopping you? Or me?
Prayer: Lord, we want to be like Barnabas. Help us to be ‘sons and daughters of encouragement’. In Jesus’ name. Amen.