Barnabas was generous with his financial and real estate resources. That is where he received his nickname. However, this trusted leader in the early church was also sent out to check on the rumor that non-Jews were responding to the Gospel message in Antioch. (Acts 11:22-24) He found that God was doing great things there and searched for Saul from Tarsus (who later became known as the apostle Paul) and asked him to join in the effort. (Acts 11:25-26) At this point, Saul had been converted, but most folks were afraid to include him because of his history as a persecutor of Christians. After spending time together building the great church in Antioch, Barnabas included Saul (Paul) as his traveling companion on a great missionary journey. (Acts 13:1-3; Acts 14:21-28) After securing the preaching of the Gospel to non-Jews, Paul and Barnabas would split up. (Acts 15:1-39) Barnabas not only found his emotionally wounded nephew, John Mark, he also restored him to useful missionary service. (2 Timothy 4:11)
Barnabas' life was a journey of encouragement, church building, people development, and faith. No wonder this "Son of Encouragement" was considered to be a man of faith and the Holy Spirit. (Acts 11:24) What an incredible life he lived! I'm not sure how I will be remembered, but I would sure love to be remembered as an encourager like Barnabas.
As we enter this special time of giving gifts and celebrating the greatest gift ever given, we want to thank you for your gifts. Over the next few weeks we will have our twice per year fund raising drive that keeps the Heartlight ministry going and growing. You can find more information about ways to support the ministry through an email tomorrow and by following the link to our special support page. But today, let me just say thank you again for your encouragement! Thank you for being a Barnabas to us.