And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought [him] to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. – Acts 9:26-27
One of the greatest thrills I have in life is seeing other people succeed and reach their potential. There is little that is more exciting than to watch a person pursue their dream and totally knock it out of the park and become all they were destined to be. The only thing more thrilling than that is to actually be part of that success. How can that happen? By offering a gift that costs absolutely nothing – encouragement. Someone once wisely said “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.” Encouragement is a very powerful thing and many times will make the difference in whether or not we succeed or totally give up and walk away.
One of the greatest encouragers of all times was that of Barnabas whose name actually means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36) His interaction with Paul immediately after his conversion is one of the most beautiful pictures of encouragement and being a lifter of people:
Barnabas Believed in Paul Before Anyone Else Did
While the other apostles feared Paul because of his horrendous history of being a persecutor, Barnabas believed Paul’s conversion was real and stood with him even when others did not. There may be someone in your life that needs you to stand with them right now because others have stood against them. You must see the potential that no one else sees and encourage that person to reach that potential even though others don’t believe he/she will ever reach it. I realize there is a risk in believing in people – they may let you down and never become anything. But if they do respond to your encouragement – what a payoff there is by inspiring people to become something they never thought possible.
Barnabas Endorsed Paul In Front of Others
But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them… Acts 9:27. Most people are very vocal with criticism and complaining. Very few people vocalize compliments and praise. Barnabas voiced his approval of Paul to people which I am sure brought opposition – but it didn’t keep him from continuing his support. Talk up the capabailities of the people who you are trying to encourage – and do it front of people. Praise them to their family and friends. Your words just may be the door that opens the opportunity for them to be received.
Barnabas Motivated Paul to Reach His Potential
Paul’s first ministry assignment came because of Barnabas’ encouragement. Paul became Barnabas’ partner in ministry as the door opened, and as we all know, “…the rest is history.” Paul became one of the greatest men of God of all time; no doubt because someone was an encouragement to him
Who in your life needs encouragement today? It is as simple as taking the time to see of what they are capable and encouraging them to reach that potential. God is calling us to be a “Barnabas” in the 21st century and motivate each other to excel. Determine today to be a person from which those around you will receive the encouragement they need to excel and be all that God created them to be. So what do you say, “Barnabas”, why not start today!