Today God’s church remembers Barnabas he received that name which means encourager, exhorter.
St. Barnabas the Apostle
O LORD God Almighty, who didst endue thy holy Apostle Barnabas with singular gifts of the Holy Ghost; Leave us not, we beseech thee, destitute of thy manifold gifts, nor yet of grace to use them alway to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
He was an encourager to his fellow Christians and had the ability to proclaim the Word of God without fear or favour. Yet he was aware of how important perception is when we try to proclaim the gospel and relate to others.
Let me give you a practical example. In the East End of London there was a chap from the local Baptist Church. He would bring a stepladder stand outside the underground station. He would then proceed to climb the stepladder and proclaim that they were all going to hell! Such a statement may have been true. However, it is always better in my opinion to remind people that they are only one step away from heaven if they turn to the Lord.
Have you ever had someone cross over the road when they saw you? I have! This happens to me when I have baptised someone’s child and parents have ignored their promises before God.
“When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4: KJV)
I found this rather sad as I would have spoken with them normally. I always seek opportunities to re-engage with folk.
Are we encouragers? Or do people psychologically cross over the road when they meet us!
We can learn much from Barnabas’s example he was a generous steward of God’s gifts materially and spiritually. (See Acts 11:29-30) He showed a charitable heart with many acts of mercy also showing the ability to be a good listener and mentor.
He also showed fearlessness, remember he introduced St Paul to the church at Jerusalem.
Barnabas also had the ability to step aside and acknowledge that St Paul had the necessary gifts from God to deal with certain situations.
He also had the ability to disagree agreeably a great Holy Ghost given gift. (See Col. 4:10)
So then can we be good stewards encourage, and exhort?
May God in His mercy make it so.
“There is no need to despair of the conversion of those who commit the worst outrages against Christianity, for the power of the Lord Jesus is able to break down the stubborn will of one who is at the same time chief of legalists and chief of sinners. God chooses the instruments He would employ in His service, and is able to fit them for His designs by the power of His Spirit. “ (Summarized Bible Complete Summary of the Bible by KEITH L. BROOKS Copyright 1919)
“But Barnabas took him, and brought [him] to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.” Acts 9:27 (AVs)The Authorized King James Version, 1611