We can’t talk about unsung heroes of the Bible, and especially of Paul’s life, without mentioning Barnabas. Actually his name was Joseph but his nickname became “Son of Encouragement” because of how he encouraged others (Acts 4:36). He was well-to-do but sold his land and gave the money to support the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 4:32-37).
Barnabas was willing to work behind the scenes, in secret. He didn’t crave the limelight, just looked for ways to serve Jesus and others. It is Barnabas who brought the newly converted Paul to Jerusalem and introduced him to those he had been trying to kill (Acts 9:26-27). Without Barnabas’ help Paul wouldn’t have been welcomed in the Christian church. Then a little later when the church at Antioch was exploding with new believers, Barnabas went to a lot of effort to find Paul and bring him to Antioch to help teach (Acts 11:25-26). Barnabas mentored Paul while they both taught new Christians.
God chose Paul to accompany Barnabas on the First Missionary Journey. It was a time of learning and training for Paul, but before long his greater sills and gifts placed him in leadership. Barnabas was willing to take second place. The good of the ministry came before his personal ego and pride. Barnabas also stepped into John Mark’s life after his failure with Paul and mentored him for several years. Mark, as you know, was used greatly by God for the rest of his life.
Nancy and I are greatly encouraged by all of you who love us, support us and stand behind us. Words can’t express how much that means to us! And you need to know that your encouragement and support of us passes right on to the pastors and Christians in India. They are extremely heartened by what we do for them, and that we care enough to come do it. Knowing they are not alone, that God hasn’t forgotten them, that Christians on the other side of the world care enough to sacrifice for them means more to them than any of us can imagine. I always pass on greetings from the Christians in America. I remind them we are praying for them and that their faithfulness is a good example for us. They are glad to hear those words for they, like all of us, need encouragement.
We are all unsung heroes when we bring encouragement to others. The church needs more who will build up instead of break down, who will give instead of take and who will make those they meet feel better instead of worse. We all need more verbal support in our lives. Remember that anyone can be an encourager! It doesn’t take money, education, skill or talent. It just takes a heart that cares and a mouth that is willing to say so to others. Does your heart are? Is your heart willing? (February 3, 2019 Kurnool, India)
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Hebrews 10:24-25 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.
Whom do you know who encourages you? Pray for them, and thank them in person.
Are there people who would say that you encourage them? Think about whom you can encourage today and how you can do it. Ask God to put people in your path who need encouragement and to make you aware of them so you can share encouragement.
Christian Training Organization