In a world fraught with many challenges, we need people like Barnabas.
We first hear about Barnabas in Acts 4:36. His real name was Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, but the Apostles had changed his name to Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement!”
The Greek for Encouragement is paraklesis, the noun of which is parakaleo, meaning one called alongside to console you, to encourage you, to exhort you, to comfort you, and/or to teach or instruct you in a way that encourages. Parakleo is the verb root of parakletos, Our Helper (the same word used for the Holy Spirit). The Apostles saw all these virtues in Joseph, and so called him Barnabas. They saw in him a man with an “encouraging spirit” and presence.
And that is what is needed today — people who can discern God’s gift in others and encourage them. When we are there for others telling them that they are not alone in this journey we bring the Barnabas Effect!
The truth is people like Barnabas keep hope alive; they keep the faith alive. Barnabas recognized that he had gifts of encouragement, organization, leadership, kindness, people skills, and much more.
What gifts do you see the Lord has given you? How do you choose to use them for the service of Christ and the community at large? So may God help us all, to discover and unleash the Barnabas inside us.