Summary: This is a sermon for Pastor Appreciation Day in which the pastors express encouragement and appreciation for the congregation.
Encouragement and Appreciation
When you ask for the name of a great apostle in the Scriptures, the two names that most easily come to mind are the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter. But one apostle that plays a critical role in the New Testament is the Apostle Barnabus. Barnabus’s name means “Son of Encouragement.” W hen the Apostle Paul was first starting out in his ministry, he became very discouraged. Before Paul became a Christian, he had a reputation of arresting Christians, putting them in jail, and voting in favor of them being put to death. Christians were terrified of him. When Paul became a Christian, many believers thought he was putting on act. They felt he simply wanted to get their names, find out where they live, and then sick the dogs on them.
Paul was very discouraged after becoming a Christian, because the people he use to hang with hated him as a traitor, and the people he wanted to hang with all thought he was a phony. Along comes the Apostle Barnabus whom God sends to be an encourager to Paul. He embraced Paul when no other leaders would. When the Christians were terrified, again Barnabus comes with words of encouragement to them which removes their fears. His encouragement led to their acceptance of Paul, and the possibility for ministry for the Lord greatly expanded.
Barnabus’s original name was Joseph. But when the church had a financial need, he went and sold a field that he had and brought the money to the apostles and laid it at their feet to be used for others. He may have been the first to do so, since he is the only one named. From that moment of personal sacrifice on his behalf, Joseph became Barnabus, the Son of Encouragment.
Paul and Barnabus worked for a year together in Antioch with the first Gentiles to give their lives to Christ. Under their ministry so many people had their lives changed by the power of Christ, that believers were first called Christians in Antioch. “Look at those little messiahs running around” were the comments made by those outside the faith.
When Paul was journeying though the rough area of Pamphylia, wondering if it could get much worse in terms of travel and living conditions, Barnabus was ther by his side. When Paul was ran out of the in Pisidia, they had to run Barnabus out too because he was preaching just as boldy. He was there to encourage Paul when they were chased out of Iconium. They both were targets of an assassination plot for preaching. When Paul was stoned in Lystra, Barnabus was there to encourage him and to help him get back up. They even went back into a city together that they had been kicked out of previously. It was Paul and Barnabus together who encouraged the new disciples to remain true to the faith. They said, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”
Everybody that is involved in ministry needs a Barnabus in their lives to keep them going in times of difficulty and to keep them laughing when things are going well. We are very proud to say that you, the congregation of Glenville New Life Community Church and the saints at New Life Fellowship are our Barnabus in ministry. We have come a long way as a church. Other churches in our denomination look at us and marvel at what the Lord has done in our midst. It could not have happened without the encouragement that you have provided to us as your leaders.
When we first started out in ministry, there was an elderly saint who did not hear to well or see to well, but she came to church almost every Sunday regardless of the weather. Her name was Mrs. Elliott. It wasn’t that she expected to hear a dynamic message each Sunday. I heard her tell another member, “we have to come to church so as to encourage the minister.” Nothing encourages us like your presence. We are encouraged when you show up for worship, for Life-Sharing and Pioneers, for bible study, for marriage sensation, for sisters in the Lord, for singles meeting, and for men who excel. Barnabus did not send Paul his greetings from a distant, he was there by Paul’s side when he was able to be there.
We are encouraged by your willingness to serve the Lord by giving of yourselves in our young people through youth the music, teaching, and outreach ministries of the church. You see our purpose is to equip people for the ministry of Jesus Christ. The ministry of Christ comes in so many forms. We are encouraged by those of you who do so many things in the background and never need to be noticed for it. Some of you will grab a broom or a mop in an instant when you see there is a need. Some of you are eager to be the support people in your organization. You may never sing a solo, but you’re faithful to the choir, because you want it to be the best it can be for Jesus Christ. You’re like Barnabus willing to be in the background for the Lord.