The Barnabas Touch: How to Be An Encourager

Gentlemen, we have considered this week the importance of being a humble servant as we follow the example given to us by Jesus (John 13:1-17).  I came across an article (written by Jason Moore) I was provided many years back and in reading it I wanted to share it with you today as we wrap up our week.  I hope you find it encouraging and invite you to take today and the weekend to consider the importance of our encouragement to our Brethren and the impact this style of living will have on those we encounter in the world.  Have a blessed day!

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Barnabas was conspicuous for his encouragement of others. An examination of his life teaches us the skills of an encourager, the job of every believer. The apostle commands, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).  Barnabas illustrates the commandment:

  1. Get off your island. Barnabas was born on the isle of Cyprus, but left Cyprus for Jerusalem (4:36), Jerusalem for Antioch, the third largest city in Roman world (11:22), and Antioch for the world (13:2). Encouragers are not just naturally gregarious people—that’s a myth. The essential qualification is unselfishness. Encouragers leave their comfort zone to go help. It’s the best cure for self-pity and any “self”-ish tendency.
  2. Build a bridge. Barnabas believed in men like Saul and John Mark even when others didn’t (9:26-27; 15:37-39). He risked his own reputation in reaching out to them. Bridge building is hard work and there is always the risk of falling. But encouragers run the risk of seeking, finding and enfolding folks whom others have isolated or who have isolated themselves.
  3. Spread good gossip. Barnabas told Saul’s story to the apostles (9:27), Antioch’s story to Saul (11:25-26), and the Gentiles’ story to an assembly in Jerusalem (15:12). A gossip likes to tell the bad he knows about others while an encourager likes to tell the good. An encourager can’t keep the story of others’ growth or progress to himself. He broadens their influence by telling something good on them.
  4. Lead the line to lend a hand. Barnabas led the file to relieve needy saints on at least two occasions (4:36-37; 11:30). It’s not that the encourager is always the first on the scene when a need arises, but he is always out of breath when he gets there. The promptness of an encourager says that his service is a privilege and not a burden.
  5. Acknowledge an effort. The word of God commends Barnabas as a “good man” because of his encouragement of the church in Antioch (11:23). The Holy Spirit acknowledges him for his acknowledgment of the efforts of others. At least three steps are involved in mastering this skill.
    1. Be watchful. An encourager is observant of the progress of others, however slight.
    2. Be thoughtful. He finds new ways to say, “Good job” and “I appreciate you.”
    3. Be impartial. The encourager never reserves his encouragement for just his circle.
  6. Go out of your way to involve another. Barnabas went looking for Saul in Tarsus in order to bring him to Antioch (11:25-26). Seeking someone’s partnership in a project says, “I need you,” or, “I believe in you.” Both of those are encouraging sentiments. The essential element in this skill is the nonverbal message sent by going out of one’s way to solicit another’s help or participation.
  7. Keep your commitments. Barnabas built a reputation for dependability (11:22, 30) and for fulfilling his mission (12:25). He always got the job done and often exceeded expectations. Over-commitment and empty promises encourage no one; quite the opposite. They cool enthusiasm. Encouragers honor their commitments in a timely, unimpeachable fashion.
  8. Don’t forget your family. John Mark was Barnabas’ kinsman (15:39; Col. 4:10). That surely was not the only reason for his peculiar encouragement of him, but it also wasn’t a reason to ignore him. Family members frequently air their complaints and criticisms, but neglect the custom of encouragement. Happy is the home where mutual encouragement is a habit. Miserable is any abode in its absence.
  9. Be a sympathetic ally of the leadership. The apostles gave Barnabas his nickname (4:36). He was their A Peter and Paul need encouragement as much as a John Mark. And a Barnabas needs it too. Leadership is far more resilient and confident when others stand with them. Leaders are also far more willing to hear the criticism of the encourager than the whine of the complainer.
  10. Always leave people better than you found them. The apostles, the poor saints in Jerusalem, Saul of Tarsus, John Mark, the church in Antioch and many churches abroad were bettered by the Barnabas’ touch. Midas was the fabled king of Phrygia to whom Dionysius gave the power of turning all that he touched to gold. Encouragers have a golden touch too. But they invest themselves in people, not trinkets. And they enrich others and not themselves.

For the man will not rest

She replied, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today” (Ruth 3:18).

Naomi, in the middle of giving advice to her daughter-in-law Ruth, makes a statement about the character of Boaz.

“For the man will not rest but will settle the matter today…”

I believe that is a wonderful testimony to Boaz’ character. Naomi knew that Boaz was the kind of man who would keep his word and get the job done. He would follow through on his commitments.

This is a good example for husbands to follow. In our homes, we need to be men like Boaz and give our wives the security and peace knowing that when we commit to something, it is going to get done.

Think for a moment about what value we are placing on our wives when we keep telling them something is going to get done and we don’t follow through. Consider the position we put our wives in when they ask us to do something, and we say we’ll do it, but they have to remind us constantly. Then we accuse them of nagging us, but we put them in that position in the first place. On top of that, we then drop everything to go help a neighbor or a buddy finish a project while the one we said we would get done months ago still remains unfinished. What does that say to our wives? Or, we may say that we don’t have money to finish the project, but then found the same amount of money or more to go do something we wanted to do. These things all speak loudly to our wives and tell her where she rates on our scale. We may not like it, but that’s how many wives see it.

Please take time to prayerfully meditate upon the example of Boaz today. He committed to a task, and Naomi assured Ruth that Boaz would not rest until the matter was settled. This brings great peace and reassurance in a marriage. We will finish what we start.

Sometimes we make commitments too quickly and that is part of the problem. Other times we don’t “count the cost” before we say we’ll do something, so we need not to be so impulsive and do some research and prayer first! In those cases, you may need to eat some humble pie and apologize. But then there are other times when we just get tired, or frustrated, distracted, confused or bored with a project and so we move on to something else. There may be times when we need to ask a friend to help us with a project so that we can get it finished.

Let’s be a Boaz, men. Be the kind of man that your wife can count on, knowing that you will get the job done.