Encourage Each Other – Part 2

Encourage Each Other – Part 2

What a legacy. To be known as someone who always lifted others up.

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4: 36-37

The Duke of Wellington, a famous military leader who defeated Napoleon was asked at the end of his life if he had any regrets. He said that if he had a regret it was that he did not give more praise. How true that is. We all like to receive it, but give it, well that’s a different ball game!

God tells us to give honour where honour is due. Whenever I go to a different place either on holiday or otherwise, I often come across a blue plaque on a wall. Naturally, curiosity calls me and I invariably have to look. There I will receive information on someone who has achieved, and therefore a plaque is placed in their memory. They have left behind them a legacy? Take a moment and ask what will yours be?

Sixty-four years ago, on June 18, 1956, a freak accident happened on a lake in New York. A speeding motorboat bounced on a wave and shot into the water two of its passengers, a 50-year old man and a little girl. To keep her from drowning, the man held her head above water while the boat circled back. They rescued the girl. But the man sank and drowned.

That’s how Dawson Trotman died, the founder of the Navigators, an international discipleship ministry. According to a quote in Time Magazine, He lived to save others. His death was just the way he would have planned it. In his obituary someone wrote that he died just the way he lived, always lifting someone up. What a legacy. To be known as someone who always lifted others up.

As our verse informs us there was someone too who left a legacy. His name is Barnabas. Notice what his name means son of encouragement. No doubt the apostles saw in him the evidence of an encourager when they gave him this name, and his subsequent behaviour and attitudes show how appropriate and well-chosen it was.

Barnabas was singled out for his generosity. The church was just starting and needed funds. The scripture says that they were selling their property so that everyone in the church would be provided for. His behaviour is given to us by his willingness to sell his own property to help the need of others. He gave up his own possessions and brought the money he had been given and put it at the apostles’ feet.

How he encouraged those early followers of Jesus who were struggling to cope with some of life’s problems. Later we are told of a couple who lied to the followers of Jesus saying they sold their property too, stating how much they had sold their property for when in fact they had not, they had kept some back for themselves. This did not end well and in fact, it cost them their lives, while Barnabas was actually saving lives. The difference is heart motivation. Just like Dawson Trotman Barnabas lived for others and his encouragement was there for everyone to see, hence his name. 

We see further on in the book of Acts that more and more people were following Jesus and churches were expanding all over the Roman world. When the church in Jerusalem (the centre) heard about this guess what they did? They sent an encourager. They sent the encourager, Barnabas. Everywhere Barnabas is present; you will find encouragement going on. Read the book of Acts to be inspired. No, he is not known as one of the apostles, or in some significant role in the early church, but he was, because his willingness to give encouragement inspired hope to those he met. 

Finally, let me leave you today with this thought. How many know a gentleman called the Apostle Paul? Paul is very much indebted to Barnabas. When no one else wanted to know Paul, Barnabas stepped in and befriended him. Barnabas is the one who takes Paul with him to Antioch and sees that Paul is given an opportunity to serve in the church. Without Barnabas, I wonder if the apostle Paul would have achieved as much as he did? Everyone needs to be given a chance and Barnabas did that for Paul. Just a thought. 

 What a legacy. To be known as someone who always lifted others up.