There was a man named Joseph, who was from Cyprus, but was known by the disciples during the days of Jesus. He was such a blessing to the people around him that they gave him the nickname of ‘Barnabas’, which means, ‘Son of Encouragement’.
How’s that for a nickname? So, how did he encourage others? We read his story in the book of Acts. There were five ways he encouraged others and each of the five involves ‘sharing’!
1. He shared his ‘stuff’. When we first meet him he is selling property (4:16) and giving the profit to the young church in Jerusalem. He was not selfish with his ‘stuff’. He had somehow learned to control his own greed…the need for more!
2. He shared his reputation. When Paul tried to meet the disciples (9:26) they didn’t trust him. Barnabas stepped in and said, “He’s with me”. He didn’t have to be the big star. He could share the spot light with others. He had learned to control his pride…the need to be number one.
3. He shared his opportunities. Barnabas was invited to pastor the growing church in Antioch (11:22) and one of the first things he did was go and get Paul to help him with the church. The church prospered under these men and that’s where the title ‘Christians’ came from (11:26). Barnabas was not selfish. He shared the opportunities that came to him.
4. He shared his life with others. Even though the church was in a good growth mode, the church obeyed God (13:3) and set aside Barnabas and Paul for a missions ministry to other places. Barnabas didn’t complain. He was not afraid to give himself to others, to live the hard life, to face persecution, to do the work that God had called him to. He handled the fear and built the church in Asia.
5. He shared his time to mentor. He mentored with Paul. He mentored a church staff (13:1). He mentored John Mark (12:25). He did it as he set up churches with Paul in places like Cyprus (13:4), Lystra, Iconium and Pisidian Antioch (14:21). He did it with the church council in Jerusalem (15:12). He did it back in Antioch (15:35). He was willing to share a lifetime of experience with others. He gave himself away. That was his legacy.
Maybe the best way to encourage someone is to share with them. Find out what they need and then figure out how to give it to them. Sharing! A great place to start in our relationships with others. A leader has to encourage others! Sharing is a good way to do that.
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