Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. - Proverbs 11:25 NLT
Barnabas in Acts 11 thought about the needs of others. According to Acts 11:25, he went out of his way to find Saul, a man who was terrorizing and imprisoning Christians. Barnabas put himself in possible danger to comfort and encourage this young man in his newly found Christian walk. Paul (formally Saul) became the greatest missionary this world has ever seen. Again, in Acts 15, Barnabas stuck his neck out for John Mark, vouching for him before Paul (even after Mark had abandoned them on a previous trip). Barnabas truly was a “son of encouragement.”
It goes without saying that we all have gone through difficult times. Perhaps you are in that season right now? When I have found myself in a trying time, by God’s grace, I have had a Barnabas or two come alongside me. I also know that I have had selfish expectations that certain people would be there for me for in that way as well. Reflecting on this, I have realized that we never truly know what someone else is going through. We don’t know their perspective, feelings, needs, or hurts. But we don’t really need to know in order to choose to go out of our way to love and encourage them.
If I want to be more like Barnabas, I must first understand the encouragement that is available to me in Christ (Philippians 2:1). I then need to humble myself and “count others more significant” than myself (Philippians 2:3-4). If I truly realize that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35), then I can become a source of grace in others’ lives. And I’m actually freed from what I’m needing or wanting in those moments. But as we refresh and encourage others, we will be refreshed.
Now wouldn’t that produce a nice crossword puzzle? Let’s all strive to be a Barnabas!
The Rock Church
One-Year Bible Reading
1 Samuel 15:1-16:23