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You Need an Encourager


In John Kotter’s business fable titled, Our Iceberg is Melting, Alice the Penguin observes, “We are always in danger of losing our courage.”

You need affirmation, attention, and encouragement as much as you need food, shelter, and water. Every word of encouragement you receive is like a bright star on a dark night. You need an encourager, a Barnabas if you will, to help you through the “dark nights of the soul.” Who’s your Barnabas? You need one. What do they do? What is encouragement in the first place? To encourage literally means, “to put courage into.” An encourager is a person who comes alongside your life and pours courage into you when the skies are clouded with fear and doubt.

We find the story of Barnabas early in the formation of the first church in the Book of Acts. Acts reports that his given name was Joseph. He was a Levite, a leader of worship if you will. His life and his actions were so encouraging that the apostles gave him a nickname: “son of encouragement,” or Barnabas. His story is interwoven in the story of the early church. What he did is what we need and what we need to be willing to offer to others.

How do encouragers help us along our journey toward our destination?

1. An Encourager Helps You See the Big Picture (Acts 4:36-37)
Barnabas sold a piece of property and gave the proceeds of the sale to the apostles so they could feed the poor. Encouragers are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They deal with the real stuff of life experience. They are quite comfortable working in the context of the bigger picture. He not only helped with an immediate need, he encouraged others with his “buy in.” Encouragers are active supporters. Barnabas didn’t open his mouth, he opened his wallet. Why? Because he saw the big picture. He understood the immediate need at hand, but also the correlation between the immediate need and the long term goal.

2. An Encourager is Willing to Step up to the Microphone (Acts 9:26-30)
Though all of the believers were nervous about Saul’s transformation, Barnabas was willing to defend him and stand beside him. He spoke words of assurance and helped calm their fears. An encourager is willing to believe the best about you, and willing to take the microphone at a press conference and publicly endorse your life.

3. An Encourager is willing to Allow You to “Tag Along” (Acts 11:22-26)
Barnabas encouraged Saul as he developed his gifts. He included him and involved him. When Barnabas saw a great opportunity, he didn’t send for Saul, he went a got him. His goal was not to control Saul but to develop him so that he could find his own voice.

4. An Encourager will Hold the Ladder so you Can Reach Your Potential (Acts 13:1-5)
Up to this point the order had been Barnabas and Paul. But by chapter 14:1, the order changed. There was no competition between the two. Barnabas genuinely wanted Paul to be the best he could be, even if it meant he would play second chair.

5. An Encourager will Never Give Up on You (Acts 15:36-41)
Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement over a young man named John Mark. Barnabas was patient with Mark even though Paul was more than willing to kick him to the curb. Barnabas allowed Mark to be human. He allowed him to fail, and then stood with him and helped him pick up the pieces so he could begin again. By the end of Paul’s life, he saw the value that Mark had, and desired Mark’s company during his final days on earth (cf. 2 Timothy 4:11).

Others may not see you as a “keeper.” But God is your keeper and will watch over your life with a host of encouragers.

Categories : Community, Relationships

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