Summary: Barnabus was a man of encouragement-A Man of generosity-A man who love his fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ
Barnabus, The Encourager
Have you ever had someone encourage you at a time when you desperately needed it? There is nothing as refreshing as an encouraging word or deed. It is like a fresh drink of water on a hot day. In fact, I believe encouragement is the greatest need in our day. Most all people you meet are carrying some burden. They need a word of encouragement.
• Thousands of people are struggling with disease and need a word of encouragement, a word of hope.
• Recent statistics indicate 50% of all marriages end in divorce. Many married couples need a word of encouragement.
• Children are moving through the stage of uncertainty. They need a word of encouragement that will build their self esteem.
• Our youth are struggling with many issues as they adapt to life’s changes. They need a word of encouragement.
• Many senior adults are seeking hope and a word that their lives matter. They have lost their physical strength, some have lost their mate and many are struggling with illnesses. They need a word of encouragement.
Illustration: Years ago I read a story about a young man named Victor Seribriarkoff. At age 15 he was called a dunce. He left school because he was so discouraged. At age 32 he was given an I.Q. test and reflected a score of 161. (Almost as high as mine. Ha! Ha!) He was elected chairperson of the Mensa Society---for geniuses. His teacher discouraged him when she needed to have encouraged him.
There are other Victors around. Some are scholastic Victors. Some are sports Victors. Some are self esteem Victors. However, every person alive needs an encourager who sees the God given potential in them and sees the potential of a relationship with God.
Today we meet a man who epitomizes encouragement. His name means, encouragement. The man was Barnabus. We first meet him in Acts 4:36. “There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). Joseph was his given name. However, the apostles gave him the name, Barnabus. I am convinced the apostles gave him this name because of his character.
What was there about Joseph’s character that would prompt the apostles to name him Barnabus---which means "son of encouragement"?
I want you to see three character traits in Joseph. These are the traits that won him the nickname of Barnabus.
First, he was a man with a generous spirit.
In the text in Acts 4 we are told that Barnabus sold a parcel of land and donated the proceeds to meet the needs of the poor. He did this because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
Barnabas was not like a certain Baptist preacher I read about. One day he received a phone call from a woman wanting to arrange a funeral for her beloved dog. She said, “I’ve called several Churches, and none of the churches will do a funeral for my dog. Every church I called laughed at my request." The Baptist preacher said, "Ma’am, I am curious as to why you want this done." She said, "Well, I just loved that dog and I want a funeral for him." "The preacher said, "that’s nice but we don’t do pet funerals. She then said, "I sure loved him, I’d be willing to give $10,000 to any church who would hold the funeral." "Oh," said the preacher, “why didn’t you tell me your dog was a Baptist? Of course we’ll do it."...
Generosity is not limited to financial giving. Generosity could be kind words. Generosity could be giving a helping hand. Our “Faith works” ministry represents an act of generosity.
Joke: One member of a local church was a very wealthy man who had never been known for his generosity. The church was involved in a big financial program and they decided to pay this man a visit. When the committee met with him, they said that in view of his considerable resources they were sure that he would like to make a substantial contribution to this program. "I see," he said, "so you have it all figured out have you? In the course of your investigation did you discover that I have a widowed mother who has no other means of support but me?" No, they responded, they did not know that. "Did you know that I have a sister who was left by a drunken husband with five children and no means to provide for them?" No, they said, we did not know that either. "Well, sir, did you know also that I have a brother who was crippled by an automobile accident and can never work another day to support his wife and family?" Embarrassingly, they responded, no sir, we did not know that either. "Well," he thundered triumphantly, "I’ve never given any of them a cent so why should I give anything