In Acts 4 we read about “Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement)” (Acts 4:36a; emphasis added).
The Greek word for “encouragement” is parakletos, which is also the word for the Holy Spirit. Barnabas was doing for others what the Holy Spirit does for the child of God—coming alongside to comfort and give hope.
Here are five practical points on how to encourage others in the Lord.
- Meet the Needs That You See
Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
There was persecution in Jerusalem, and there was poverty—so there was a need. Barnabas saw a need and moved in to meet it.
There is more than money to give! (See Acts 3:6.) Give help, time, wisdom, prayer. Give words of encouragement. Give you.
- Be a Friend
Saul was now preaching Jesus—but he had once been the mighty Pharisee, enemy of the Church. So, “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” (Acts 9:26).
Paul needed somebody to love him. He had lost his old friends, and his new friends were suspicious of him.
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.
- Partner with Fellow Christians
In Acts 11, a revival has broken out in the church at Antioch. When the apostles found out, they wondered, “Are these people orthodox, or is this a cult?” They sent Barnabas to investigate.
When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord. (Emphasis added)
Barnabas came back and reported, “These are our brothers and sisters, and we need to get with them.” He encouraged others by building partnerships.
- Develop Leadership
Barnabas, when he went to Antioch, thought, “Look at all God is doing! They need a leader.”
Then Barnabas departed for Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch.
Barnabas knew Saul’s spiritual gifts needed to be developed, discovered, and put to work. It takes much grace to play second fiddle and play it well, but Barnabas did.
Leaders are all over. Single them out, equip them, and send them out.
- Rebuild Relationships
Can you imagine Barnabas and Paul now having a contention? But they did.
A young man named Mark went with Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey. Somewhere along that journey, Mark grew homesick, or afraid, and left.
Later, Paul and Barnabas were going back again. Barnabas wanted to bring Mark, but Paul did not.
Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.
Barnabas knew that failure is not final. So, he nurtured John Mark.
Time passes. Later, Paul is in a Roman prison. He writes to Timothy, “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). How did this change? Because Barnabas refused to let go of a good man.