Men of Character:
Barnabas: Man of Encouragement (Acts 11:24)
Acts 11:24, For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the LORD.
The Bible described Barnabas as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). Barnabas was an encourager to believer’s, especially new converts. He was used by the Lord to be a special gift to His children. Barnabas had a generous heart. His character reflected the giving nature of the heart of God.
When this new convert “Saul” showed up in Jerusalem to meet the apostles, it was Barnabas who came alongside him and vouched for his authentic faith Acts 9:27—28. In Acts 13:43, Barnabas encouraged new believers to continue in the grace of God. In Acts 14:21-22, he returned with Paul to three cities visited earlier to build up the disciples they had made and to encourage them. In Acts 15:36, they did the same. A true friend will always be humble for your sake. A real friend wants you to be first. Barnabas was not into himself. He was an encourager of others. His name actually means "son of encouragement," and he would, through the power of Jesus, embody his name for generations to come. It’s easy to see how he gained such a reputation. The Holy Spirit is the One Who “comes alongside” to help us. Joseph gained the reputation of coming alongside others to encourage or help them.
Barnabas was willing to take a risk. When nobody wanted to extend the right hand of fellowship to Paul, Barnabas responded in faith and embraced Paul as a new person in Christ. Barnabas took personal responsibility in seeing that Paul had the opportunity to grow and to be used in ministry. Not only did Barnabas share Paul’s conversion, but he also spoke of how the Lord had already used him. The impact that Paul had on the early church is overwhelming! However, if Barnabas had not been willing to mentor Paul he may not have made as much of an impact. It is a risk to reach out to people and love them, invest in them, care for them, and mentor them. However, if we fail in these areas, the church’s mission will be highly impacted in a negative way.
Barnabas teaches us to use our gifts to meet the needs of others. When Barnabas saw the spiritual needs of the new converts to Christianity in Antioch, he traveled to Tarsus to recruit Saul to teach them the Scriptures. This same Holy Spirit filled the heart of Barnabas, and he reflected the Holy Spirit’s work in his life as he came alongside others. The Lord used Barnabas teach us the importance of manifesting a heart of integrity and generosity. The Holy Spirit equips us to serve the church and its global mission. When we consider the character of a Christian, we must include the role of the Holy Spirit as He motivates and empowers the Christian to teach, serve, encourage, lead, and proclaim the Good News of Jesus. God used Barnabas to take the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. His character made a lasting difference in the lives of millions because he demonstrated the heart of God.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, give me a heart of encouragement to other believers. May the Holy Spirit empower me and use me and direct me to Christians who need encouragement and need someone to help them in their walk of faith. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.