Summary: There are some people everyone enjoys being around. They are people who give encouragement. This message uses Barnabas an example of how to be an encourager.
“How To Rub People the Right Way”
-Develop Winning Attitudes
There are some people everyone enjoys being around. They are people who give encouragement. To learn how to become an encourager we can look at the life of an early church leader that from the beginning of his ministry to the end was an encourager. His given name was Joseph. Maybe his parents called him Joe. After Joseph became a Christ follower the other disciples gave his a new name, “Barnabas – son of encouragement.”
From the life and ministry of Barnabas we learn how to rub people the right way.
We can be an encourager by seeking ways to encourage others.
I. Determine to be an encourager (Acts 4:36-37)
Barnabas greatly encouraged the early church with his generous financial gift. Joseph/Barnabas was a Levite from Cyprus. Levites usually lived off the temple system. We’re not sure how Barnabas became a land owner, through an inheritance or some other means. He sold his property and gave all the proceeds to help care for the poor in the church. Barnabas later joined Paul in his tent-making business and provided for his own support rather than take financial support from the temple donations.
Think for a moment of all the people who have given to you at just the right time to encourage you.
During our first year at Asbury Theological Seminary Carollyn and I drove every Sunday 80 miles one way to Louisville, KY to help out in a FM church there. A couple in the church had invited us to come stay with them some Saturday and not have to get up so early for us drive to Louisville.
I remember one week we were out of money and food. We decided that we would give the couple a call and take them up on food and lodging. Saturday afternoon we drove to Louisville and enjoyed a great supper of Southern cooking. Sunday morning following breakfast the couple said they wanted to give us a gift. They handed us a $20.00 bill. That was enough for groceries for a week. After church the piano player handed me a $5.00 bill when she shook my hand. We indeed were blessed and encouraged.
If you want to become an encourager then hang out with encouraging people.
#In a Peanuts comic strip by Charles Schultz, Charlie Brown rests his head in his hands while lerning on the wall, looking miserable. His friend Lucy approaches. “Discouraged again, eh, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown does not even answer.
“You know what your trouble is?” Lucy asks. Without waiting for a response, she announces, “The whole trouble with you is that you are you!”
Charles Brown says, “Well, what in the world can I do about that?” “I don’t pretend to be able to give advice,” Lucy replies, “I merely point out the trouble!”
The first step for Charlie Brown might be to find a new friend, one who would give encouraging words.
Years ago I heard Charlie “Tremendous” Jones speak at a Sunday School Convention. He said, “The difference between who you are today and who you will be in five years will be the people you spend time with and the books you read.”
If you are going to be an encourager you must be encouraged yourself.
It’s often the small things in life that makes a difference. John Wooden coached the UCLA Bruins to eleven National Championships in thirteen years. He instructed his players that whenever a basket was made, the player who scored was required to smile, wink, nod, or point to the player who passed the ball to him. When Coach Wooden gave these instructions to one team, one of his new players said, “But Coach, what if he’s not looking?” John Wooden said, “I guarantee he’ll look.” He was right, because everyone is looking for encouragement and affirmation.”
By his sacrificial giving Barnabas encouraged the early church.
Barnabas also looked for the best in other people.
To rub people the right way -
II. Look for the best in others. Acts 9:26-27
Saul who became known as the Apostle Paul was fully committed to destroying the early church. It was under his supervision that Stephen was stoned. Saul was on his way to Damascus to find and arrest other Christ followers. Following the stoning of Stephen many Christians fled to Damascus, a major city that served as the transportation and commercial hub in Palestine and Egypt to the south. Before Paul made it to the city the risen Jesus confronted him and Saul’s life was transformed. He went into Damascus and preached in the Jewish synagogues that Jesus had risen from the dead and was indeed the long awaited Messiah.
When Paul’s life was threatened, other believers lowered him down in a large basket over the wall and he traveled to Jerusalem.