Barnabas, the man who impacted my life. God graciously places people into our lives for many reasons but the most memorable are those who come to us and leave with words of encouragement lasting upon our hearts. Barnabas was such a person. Born in Cyprus and living in Jerusalem, he so touched each life he crossed that he was given the nickname “son of encouragement.” Oh would that be our nickname instead of complainer, thankless or some other.
The dictionary defines encouragement as that which inspires courage or confidence. The early church faced many obstacles such as the distractions of the widow’s needs, the raging anger of Saul of Tarsus, the stoning of Stephen, and more. In spite of all this Barnabas was steady, always ready with a word to give courage to faltering hearts. He so loved the new foundling church that he sold his land and gave the proceeds for the church’s needs. And now in chapter 11 we find that the apostles sent him on a journey to check out the Cypriot believers in Antioch. He was fully prepared with language skills, familial ties, he knew the mannerisms and the ways of these brethren of his so he was the perfect choice. But, there is better reason: Barnabas “was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith,” Stop and think about that for a moment. To be full of the Holy Spirit means that he was demonstrating the Fruit of the Holy Spirit: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [Gal 5] In addition his faith was his foundation and he lived and walked by this: “The righteous by faith will live.” [Rom 1] “You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected by works.”[James 2].
It was because of Barnabas living out his faith through the Holy Spirit that many came to know the Lord. Who is the Barnabas in your life? Take time today to let them know, for the Barnabas’ of this world are usually the unassuming quiet behind the scenes people. And how about yourself, could you be a Barnabas to someone today?