Sunday, 15 November 2015
Daily Reading: Acts 11v19-30 'Being Barny'
Barnabas was an encourager, such an encourager that encouragement could have been his dad because they had the same DNA, the family likeness and here we see a picture of what encouragement looks like in the church.
Barnabas is sent by the Apostles and just look at the description he "came...saw...was glad...exhorted them to remain faithful..." Barnabas was a man filled with the Spirit in whom the fruit of the Spirit were obvious. When he gets to Antioch he rejoices that the Gentiles have come to faith, that the grace of God is at work, active, among them as a community. And that joy leads him to encourage them to keep on going. he doesn't coolly and critically evaluate and then troubleshoot, or suggest how he would have done it differently. There's no criticism sheathed within a velvet glove as we can sometimes do. Barnabas rejoices in the gospel bearing fruit and works to encourage further fruitfulness.
Isn't that a challenge, am I characterised by joy in seeing the gospel and grace at work in others. Am I rejoicing in the faith and fruit of others? Am I looking to spur others on rather than bring them down. This is so counter our culture, our culture prizes criticism not praise, it assumes that intelligence and skill always evaluates and knows a better way. But that is the fruit of this age not the fruit of the Spirit. Imagine what church would be like if when we walked in we all looked for two people we could encourage about our joy in seeing the grace of God at work in their life. Two people we could encourage by praying with and for them. Every church needs a Barnabas, if not more than one.