"On his arrival he rejoiced to see the evidence of God's favor. He encouraged them all to remain firm in their commitment to the Lord." —Acts 11:23
We have all received "constructive criticism" at some point in our lives. This is valuable when the recipient has an open heart and doesn't react defensively. Yet what is more powerful, criticism or encouragement? The Word of God exhorts us to "encourage one another daily while it is still 'today,' so that no one grows hardened by the deceit of sin" (Heb 3:13).
Who should we look to as our model of encouragement? "There was a certain Levite from Cyprus named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (meaning 'son of encouragement')" (Acts 4:36). St. Barnabas clearly understood the importance of encouragement. God places gifted disciples such as Barnabas "in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ" (Eph 4:12).
How do we spend our time on earth? St. Barnabas doesn't have a monopoly on sharing an encouraging word. Think back to brothers and sisters in Christ who have "encouraged and pleaded with you to make your lives worthy of the God Who calls you to His kingship and glory" (1 Thes 2:12). Where would most of us be without encouragers in our lives?
"The gift you have received, give as a gift" (Mt 10:8).
Prayer: Father, teach me "what to say and how to speak" (Jn 12:49).
Promise: "As you go, make this announcement: 'The reign of God is at hand!' " __Mt 10:7
Praise: St. Barnabas "spoke out fearlessly" (Acts 13:46; 14:3) in spreading the gospel on the first Christian mission. He acted "in complete reliance on the Lord" (Acts 14:3).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 18, 2013
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