The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




The Need of Encouragement

"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).

From time to time, all of us need a bit of encouragement. It may range from an "attaboy", to a pat on the back, to a few words to let us know that our efforts are appreciated. It has always been interesting to me that people's names in the Bible have been changed. The apostles relieved this guy of a perfectly good name like Joseph and hung him with the moniker of Barnabas. In this case, the name change must have been deserved because of it's meaning....Son of Encouragement! Barnabas comes on the scene in the book of Acts with no explanation of how he became a Christian. At this time there were people who were needy, and some Christians of means went out on a limb to supply those needs. This is how we meet Barnabas. He sold a piece of his land and gave the money to the apostles for distribution. Maybe it is this generosity that constrained the apostles to give him his new name, for he is no longer called Joseph.

There is another way that we read about that shows that he was deserving of his new name. A contention arose between Barnabas and Paul over a young man named John (Mark). As they were to begin another missionary journey, Barnabas was determined to take John Mark with him. Because of a previous failing, Paul didn't think he was up to it and would not take him. Paul went on with Silas, and Barnabas took John Mark with him to encourage the churches on Cyprus. The story could end here and be a good one, but there is more. This John Mark came to be known as simply Mark. He is the Mark who is generally considered to have authored the second gospel....MARK....Though Mark is not mentioned in Acts again, he is mentioned by Paul (Col.4:10, Phm 24). He has apparently gained Paul's complete trust as he writes from prison in Rome; "Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry" (2 Tim. 4:11). In his treatment of Mark, Barnabas was true to his character. In giving him the "benefit of the doubt," that Paul would not, he encouraged Mark to much greater heights. Are there people in our lives that just need the right encouragement to be better servants of Christ. Could it be you or I who are the ones to do that encouraging. Who knows....Maybe someone will call us Barnabas....We could do a lot worse...

Have a great week...Start it off with a RAK...It could be encouraging... Love mark Phil. 4:11

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