Sons and Daughters of Encouragement
When we were children in elementary and middle school, we had a bad habit of giving teachers names – depending on their mannerisms, appearance or something. It was such a common thing that I didn’t know the actual names of some teachers. Now I realize that we were not the first ones to do this. There is actually a Biblical precedent (as we will see shortly) – but in a positive way. We both have official names and nicknames. Which name have you earned? When you enter a room, which name is identified with you?
Acts 4:36-37 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. Because of his character, Joseph was given a new name, it is a name that most Bible readers are familiar with, yet it was not his original name.
We leave in a world that is desperate for encouragement. From young children to senior citizens, from house helpers to presidents of nations, everyone needs encouragement. In a world where, bashing, negative criticism and slander is commonplace, we are hungry for sons and daughters of encouragement. We need a person in our lives to remind and encourage us to hold on when we are about to give up. When we feel we have come to the end of our rope, we need people to encourage us to “tie the knot and hang on.” We need someone to tell us “Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.” And you are that person!
Encouragement is a proactive habit. We do not wait until people call upon us and then we encourage them but and encourager is always sensitive to what needs there are and what she can do to be of some help.
Encouragers, see hope where others see hopelessness. They see life where others see death. There are willing to give people a second chance. They are willing to go out of their way to meet needs. We see this Barnabas again in some other place. This time it had to do with Saul (Paul) who had just become a believer and minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. But, understandably, the old Christians did not know how to handle Saul when he tried to join them.
The bible says in Acts 9:26-27 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
You see, Barnabas risked everything to help this new convert, Paul. He did not judge Paul according to his past but from his transformed present and potential future. Like Henry Ford said, “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”The church desperately needs sons and daughters of encouragement. Someone described the church as a hospital, where we all come with our sicknesses, wounds, failures, and weaknesses. More than anything else, we need an encourager. We people are longing for someone who can listen to what we say, and more importantly listen to what we don’t say.
When the church was in need of people to encourage and teach them in the Way of Lord, who did the Apostles send? It was Barnabas. God is calling us to be sons and daughters of encouragement.
Make it your goal to encourage someone this week. You could write a card to your workmate who has been good to you. You could send a note of encouragement to someone who is sick, telling him that he is in your thoughts and prayers. It could be a hug to that lonely somebody that you notice – may be a kid in your class. Pray that God will open your spiritual eyes to the people in need of encouragement around you. Choose to be a son or daughter of encouragement this week.