Be a Barnabas (2)
Former US President Ronald Reagan earned the nickname ‘The Great Communicator’ because he was a gifted public speaker. Earvin Johnson earned the nickname ‘Magic’ because of what he could do with a basketball. And Joseph of Cyprus earned the nickname ‘Barnabas’ because wherever he went he ‘encouraged them all’. What a testimony! The Scripture says, ‘Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement), sold a field… brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.’ (Acts 4:36–37 NIV) Then, ‘When [Barnabas] arrived…he…encouraged them all to remain true… He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith...’ (Acts 11:23–24 NIV) Barnabas accompanied Paul on missionary trips and wherever he went his spirit of encouragement shone through: ‘...they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples...’ (Acts 14:21–22 NIV) ‘When [Paul] came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles...’ (Acts 9:26–27 NIV) It was Barnabas who encouraged them to accept Paul and work with him as a brother in Christ. When Paul didn’t want to take John Mark with them because of a perceived failure, Barnabas gave him a second chance. Later Paul acknowledged what a great asset John Mark was. Indeed, it seems he ended up writing the Gospel of Mark, but without encouragement from Barnabas it might not have happened.