"He encouraged them all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord." —Acts 11:23<br>"Then..." —Acts 11:25
You would expect anyone known as the "son of encouragement" (Acts 4:36) to spend his time exhorting people to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord. The leaders of the Jerusalem church expected this from Barnabas. That's why they sent him to strengthen the new converts in a young church which faced possible persecution (Acts 11:19).
Encouragement, for Barnabas, was not just doing the expected: a few kind words and "being there" for others. Encouragement also meant finishing the job: personally doing whatever it took to make sure that each person became a solid, life-long disciple of Jesus. Barnabas knew that the best way to give his new converts fresh and continuing courage was to feed them God's word. Accordingly, Barnabas made sure those he was encouraging would receive God's word by personally travelling to Tarsus, tracking down Paul, and bringing him back to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). Together, they "instructed great numbers" "for a whole year," probably by means of daily Scripture teaching (Acts 11:26). By the time Barnabas completed his "encouragement," the new converts were now called "Christians" and "disciples" (Acts 11:26), meaning those who have absolutely committed themselves to follow Jesus.
Be sons and daughters of encouragement. "Encourage one another" (Heb 10:25) and finish the job.
Prayer: Father, Source of all encouragement (Rm 15:5), teach me "how to rouse" and encourage Your people (Heb 10:24-25).
Promise: "Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal the leprous, expel demons. The gift you have received, give as a gift." —Mt 10:8
Praise: St. Barnabas encouraged not only Paul, but also his nephew Mark, both of whom went on to write books of the New Testament.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 4, 2008
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