I had been a mom for one whole month- long enough to be exhausted and to doubt that I was doing anything right. That’s when the first note appeared in my mailbox. About seven months earlier, my best friend, who lived out of state, gave birth to her firstborn. Knowing that I was pregnant, she celebrated every month of her newborn daughter’s life by writing a letter of encouragement to me. On my son’s one-month birthday, the first note showed up at just the right time saying, “I know you are exhausted, but you’ve made it a whole month! You’re doing awesome! Keep up the good work!” And every month after that another note appeared until his first birthday. Her thoughtfulness and encouraging words gave me confidence each month. She didn’t have any profound wisdom to share; her notes just were a way of saying “I see you. You can do this with God’s help. I’m praying for you.”
Proverbs 25:25 Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.
Oh how her notes were like cups of cold water for my weary soul!
In the book of Acts, we find a man named Joseph who was renamed Barnabas by the apostles. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement,” and so he was. If it weren’t for Barnabas, Paul may not have become the greatest missionary of the early church. Acts tells the story of how the apostles were afraid to meet with Paul, knowing his history of persecuting Christians. Yet Barnabas literally “took hold of him,” brought him to the apostles and told Paul’s story for him. What an encouragement that must have been to Paul! To have another person speak on his behalf and believe that his story was worth telling.
Throughout Paul’s first two missionary journeys, Barnabas was his constant companion. The Bible doesn’t record any of Barnabas’s words, although it does mention that he spoke boldly for the Lord. Instead, Scripture records over and over again that Barnabas was with Paul, persecuted with him, traveling with him, and (based on his nickname) encouraging him. Barnabas played a large role in supporting Paul so that Paul could successfully share the gospel, even when times were tough (and they often were). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” (Proverbs 18:21). And Barnabas gave words of life to Paul.
Each of us can be a “Barnabas” for someone else. We don’t need to have special wisdom or all of the right answers, although we can certainly pray for both. We just need to walk with others and say “I see you. You can do this with God’s help.”
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11
Your words have power. How can you use your words today to bring life, give golden apples, and cups of cold water to someone in need of encouragement? Be a “Barnabas” to someone today!
About the Writer:
Kelley has been married for 12 years and is a mom to two fun, energetic boys. A former elementary teacher, she is passionate about studying God’s Word and teaching it to others. In her free time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and taking photographs.