Every once in a while we all need a little encouragement. No matter how good life is there will always be days when we wake up to raindrops pelting the window pane. The persistent pounding drives us under the covers, drenching our desire to “get up and go.” If only a ray of sunshine would smile through the clouds, our motivation to brave the weather would be revived.
Acts 11:23 “When he (Barnabas) arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”
Believers in Acts had been scattered from their homes as they faced persecution for their faith. As they traveled to cities such as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, they spread the message of Christ’s death and resurrection to those they met. Most of them shared the message only with Jews, but others began to share with the Greeks in Antioch. As they spoke, God’s hand was with them and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.
I can only imagine the exhausting mixed emotions these believers were experiencing. They may have been homesick as they thought of their previous homes and distant family members they left behind. Possibly they were figuring out a new plan for living arrangements or financial stability. There may have been some fear that the persecutors would find them in their new homes and bring harm to their families. Yet in the midst of all this, they were experiencing elation at the privilege of sharing God’s message and seeing many come to the Lord.
This mix of high and low emotions along with the exhaustion of working with new believers must have exhilarated as well as drained these followers of Jesus. When the news of the growing church reached Jerusalem, they sent the man surnamed Barnabas, or “Son of Encouragement,” to help them. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”
What a ray of sunshine Barnabas must have been to these hard-working men and women of faith! Barnabas recognized God’s work in Antioch and revitalized everyone with words of encouragement. His Spirit-filled life energized an already growing ministry and even more people came to the Lord.
Everyone needs a Barnabas to step into their lives once in a while. When the clouds threaten rain and the energy level drops, sometimes a simple word of encouragement can keep one moving forward. You can be that ray of sunshine. Speak a word, write a note, send a text, share a smile – your encouragement may just be what gets someone out of bed in the morning!