Barnabas was known as the “son of encouragement” as we see in Acts 4:36. Oh, that we could all be a Barnabas! It is in our flesh, our sinful nature to be discouraging, to complain to tear others down. Sometimes we do it to bring someone down to our own perceived level. Sometimes we think we are gently correcting when we are in fact just hurting someone else because we have a different preference. But the Holy Spirit who lives in us is an encourager. That is what Christians should be know for.
The Lord has blessed me with this recently. I have faced plenty of discouragement and frustration at times, but it seems that just when that is getting the better of me, a brother or sister in Christ chimes in with some great words of encouragement or the Lord blesses me another way. Selling our home this past weekend was encouraging, especially after 19 months of difficulty with it, but that is temporal. There are people in this church who take every opportunity to encourage me and let me know how much they appreciate me being a part of TSBC…and I certainly reciprocate. That is eternal encouragement. I received a voicemail Monday, with some great timing, that was thanking us for starting mentoring groups. The person was so excited about what she was experiencing in her group that she had to share it, and we were blessed. I met with a couple of gentlemen from TSBC last week who were probably more encouraging than they knew.
We are not all great at encouragement, though, but that does not relieve us from the requirement. I grew up in a home and among friends who were very cutting in their sarcasm. I became the same way. It did not hit me until early in my college years that I was hurting people even though I never intended to do so. The Lord has worked heavily on me in that area, as He can and does with all of us. Not long after I moved to Rainbow City, a man told me he thought I had the gift of encouragement. I was quite moved by the statement. It had to be a gift from the Spirit because that was never me naturally. I believe the Lord is most glorified in the difference between what we do on our own and what we do by His Spirit. Let us bring Him glory as we encourage one another!