In our previous post, we saw that Barnabas was the kind of Christian each of us should want to be. That’s because he was an encourager.

Please understand something. This post is personal. It expresses what I want my life to be. One of my ambitions. Something I want more than a politician wants the White House, a golfer wants a Major, childless parents want a little one. If Jesus were to appear to me and say, “Charley, I’ll let you be any one thing you want—what will it be?” I’d answer, “Lord, help me to be a Barnabas. Help me to be an encourager of your people.”

4 Reasons to be a Barnabas

Here are four reasons why I—and I believe you—should long to be a Barnabas-like encourager of God’s sons and daughters.

1. You should be an encourager because encouragers are needed. They’re needed as much as doctors during an epidemic, water during a drought, and lifeboats on the Titanic. I know I need encouragement that much. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Day in and day out we rub shoulders with Christians struggling with sin, broken by romantic failure, wrestling with chronic illness, stung by a just lost job, or crushed by disappointing news—to mention a few of life’s East of Eden miseries mugging us in life’s dark alley. What do they need? They need what David needed during a down time in his life. “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God” (1 Samuel 23:16).

David needed a Barnabas. And we all need one on a regular basis.

2. You should be an encourager because encouraging others is the best way to encourage yourself. I guarantee you Barnabas was a happy man. I’ll go all in on the hand of this assertion. And I’ll win. Because I’m playing a royal flush.

How do I know? Because Jesus says serving others is the key to happiness: “Happy are you if you do these things” he says as he tells his disciples to imitate him in doing things for others (John 13:17). Since encouraging others is a wonderful way of serving them, I have no doubt Barnabas was a happy man.

Are you down? Singing the blues? Here’s the Great Physician’s prescription for the best Xanax you can take. Encourage someone. Make an encouraging phone call, write a cheering note, post on Facebook a strengthening message, send a bracing text and you’ll find the sun peeping through your clouds.

Encouraging others is like singing an upbeat song. You can’t do it without feeling better.

3. You should be an encourager because this is the way to be like Jesus. God wants us to be like his Son (Romans 8:29). We want to be like him. We seek to navigate our way through life with a WWJD compass: What Would Jesus Do? Well, here’s one answer: Jesus would encourage.

He encourages the woman at the well—a woman who in the words of the old country song was looking for love in all the wrong places—with the assurance that he will give her the living water of the best and purest love imaginable (John 4). He encourages his disciples with the assurance that his leaving the earth will be for our good because he will send the Holy Spirit to live in us (John 13-16). He encourages fallen Peter with words of forgiveness and restoration (John 21).

Indeed, everything about Jesus encourages us. His life, death, wisdom, power, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and gentleness put wind in our sails. There isn’t a confessed sin he won’t forgive; an impossible to us problem he can’t handle as easily as he raised Lazarus from the dead; a heartache he can’t work for our good as he worked Peter’s failure to the good of humbling Peter and making him a better minister.

If you want to be like Jesus, be like Barnabas. Encourage others.

4. You should be an encourager because this honors God. Bach signed his compositions with the letters SDG: Sola Deo Gloria: to God alone be the glory. We want to live SDG lives. One of the best ways of doing that is by encouraging others. That’s because encouraged Christians praise God for their encouragement.

I am an example of how this works. I love the late Welsh preacher David M. Lloyd-Jones. I mainline his books. One of the main reasons I do this is because he encourages me by constantly reminding me of who and what I am through Jesus. I find that when I’m reading Lloyd-Jones I’m constantly praising God, thanking him for his goodness to me through his Son. You see this man’s encouragement leads me to glorify God.

O, child of God, if you want to do a good work that will glorify your Father, be a Barnabas.

Be a Barnabas Today

Christian, if you want to do something your brothers and sisters desperately need; something that will cheer you; something that will make you like Jesus; something that will honor your heavenly Father; be a Barnabas. Encourage others.

Start now.

Who needs your encouragement? Find some way to encourage that person.

Be a Barnabas. It’s a great way to live!

Are you living wisely by serving Jesus? Download our free Bible Study on being useful: No Little People


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