Consider this guy. Acts, #36. Acts 9. Do you ever stop to think about how you will be known? If folks sum your life up with a sentence, what will they say? Or, if they remember you by a single word, what might it be? Kind of an interesting thought I say.
podcast: https://www.pastorwoman.net/podcast/episode/2a03b8e7/how-do-you-want-to-be-known-acts-36-acts-9 Just before our movie camera moves away from Saul for a while, consider one more element with me--the role, the impact this guy had on Saul. To this point in the early church, Luke talked about him because of his generosity. Check it out: “There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need. For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”1 What was it about this guy they called ‘the Son of Encouragement’ or Barnabas? First thing we observe is that Barnabas was generous with what he had. Wouldn’t it be great to be known as a person who encourages others, whether materially or in other ways? Again I am reminded of how many times people have said to me, ‘if only I knew God’s will, I would do it; I mean, if I only knew what God wanted me to do…. I would do it!’ Look no further as Scripture clearly outlines that we are to encourage one another and build each other up.2 What is encouragement? In the middle of the word is courage, which is built from the root word ‘cor’, meaning heart. To live with courage is to live fully from one’s heart; indeed, it is more than bravery! To encourage is to “give support, confidence, or hope to (someone).” So let’s think of this then - Barnabas spoke words from his heart to lend support and confidence. Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of another’s commendation of us, like Barnabas here in Acts chapter 9: ‘Look guys, I know Saul… I mean, I’ve seen this guy in the toughest times; he loves the Lord Jesus Christ and he is strong … he is trustworthy. I’m telling you, guys, he is someone you can count on.’ While the believers in Jerusalem did not trust Saul, Barnabas went to bat for him: Luke describes, “Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.”3 An encourager is not afraid to stand up, speak truth, befriend another and champion his cause, just as Barnabas does Saul. His encouragement reaps benefits for Saul; Barnabas’ endorsement has great impact--it ushers Saul into the community of believers in Jerusalem. Here’s the thing--all of us can encourage others. But it requires ~desire on our part to be used of God ~awareness of others’ situations, others’ needs ~creative enterprise as to implementation ~personal courage to risk It is so easy to see what’s wrong in a situation or a person; it is so easy to be critical, right? But what if we were to start looking for what is right and then commenting favorably? I make it my business to ‘yelp’ service folks, restaurants, businesses with words of affirmation and gratitude--I know the difference it makes! Sometimes an encourager is a guide along our path, someone who will say ‘you can do it… I know you can! Here, go this way… I will help you--indeed, someone who points the way.’ While this clip is not new, it moves me just the same way ever time I view it: notice the role of the guides leading courageous blind Erik Weihenmayer climbing Mt. Everest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE1ZdO7ppLo Let’s be the encourager! Christine 1 - Acts 4.32-37 2 - 1 Thessalonians 5.11 3 - Acts 9.27