Wow, what an epitaph for your gravestone. Barnabas is first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 4:36, and depending on your translation of the Bible, he is called the Son of Encouragement. Some other translations refer to him as son of exhortation, son of consolation, son of comfort and son of encouragement.
If you are familiar with the song, "You are my Sunshine", you might recall the words if you will. "You make me happy, when skies are gray."
"You'll never know, dear, how much I love you, please don't take my sunshine away." That song is the state song of Louisania. Jimmie Davis, former governor of Louisiana, wrote that song.
Today I am one of the most blessed men on the earth. I have hundreds of folks who minister to me by email or by phone or by a simple entry in my guestbook. The time I spend writing my web pages is well worth the thanks from many of the folks who take a few minutes to write a word of encouragement. The enemy caused me to lose two years worth of entries recently so I had to start all over with a new guestbook in June 2002.
Some days when I am discouraged, and wonder if I am making an impact on my world, I just take a peek at and read over the comments of folks who have encouraged me.
Barnabus was a great encouragement to Paul, the apostle. He was his mentor in the beginning of his ministry, and became a lifelong friend. Yes, they had conflicts, as most friends do, but in the end, if you will study the life of Barnabus and Paul, you will see two men who greatly encouraged one another.
Today, the world is missing people like that. We are too busy running in the "the rat race" to take time for people or for God.
I have a project for you this week. Set yourself a goal to encourage three people this week. Whether by email or by personal contact (which is best), or by telephone. Let a friend or family member know how much you appreciate them.
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." Proverbs 25:11. Then memorize this verse and take that project and do it for the rest of your life!
A personal note added Nov 10, 2005. I wrote this article many years ago, not knowing that I would be going through some deep waters in my life in the future. Today, going through some tough family situations, I can echo the fact that many of the men and women who I have poured my life into in the past, have come back to encourage me in these days.
One of my pastors told me many years ago, "I do not think much spiritual growth takes place while the sun is shining." That is so true these days. I feel close to the Lord in the midst of trials. So today when your friend, or child, or spouse snaps at you, try and see life from their perspective. They are probably under the gun, and we say and do stupid things when that happens.
Today I was encouraged by a familiar verse in Matthew 7:12. We all know the golden rule, but here it is out of the Message translation. "Here is a simple rule-of-thumb guide for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get."
****Note added July 29, 2009--Today I rejoice in the Lord that my long disagreement with my ex-wife is over. Five years and two months ago she left me, due in part to my anger over many difficult things happening in my life. I apologized hundreds of times, but it did not help. Five lawyers later, and five years and two months of learning valuable lessons, have given me a renewed hope for the future. God has given me a wonderful new wife, and we are making our way through life, trusting God to direct us. All these years my many friends have indeed been a "Barnabas" in my life and I have thanked each of them personally for walking with me through the "Valley of the Shadow of Death". God indeed is my Shepherd and I will continue to encourage folks as I have opportunity. There can be no greater ministry for you. Call a friend today!!!
Note on March 25, 2010. Heard a great message from Bill Warrick, Williamsburg Community Chapel, about Barnabas. On a regular basis, I have many friends in my cell phone directory, who I call on a regular basis and try and encourage them. Guess what? It encourages me to be an encourager! Try it for yourself.
Want to help reach the world for Christ-forward this site to a friend. Matthew 28:18-20