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Barnabas: The Encourager

Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles.

Acts 9:27

By any reasonable standard, it was a mismatch of wits that could have spelled disaster for the church. Saul (later Paul)—the urbane Greek intellectual, forceful Jewish Pharisee, privileged Roman citizen—now claimed to be a Christian and wanted to meet the leaders at Jerusalem. Everyone except Barnabas smelled a plot. If Saul was faking it, the heart of the church would be vulnerable.

Barnabas cast worry to the wind and went into the city to meet this new brother in Christ. It was Barnabas’s faith in the power of God that sent him. His willingness to believe the best in each person won him a reputation as an encourager throughout the early church.

We need such people today. Many people who attend the same church do not know each other well and are unsure how to make friends. That’s one of the reasons why so many church hallway conversations are about the weather and sports — very safe topics.

With a Barnabas in the church—an encourager of the saints—people begin to open up, conversation goes deeper, people begin to trust each other and the mission of the church is reinvigorated. What ailing brother or sister can you boost with a phone call or a gesture of acceptance, hospitality or help?

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