What would they call you?
By “they,” I am referring to the apostles of the Early Church. You know, the Church that started in Acts.
If you were their contemporary and lived the same version of Christianity as you do now, how would you be known? What nickname would be given to you?
Maybe you’ve said, “I don’t care what others call me or say about me.” But I tell you, it does matter to God. How others view you and think about you does describe the impact you are having. After all, there’s an excellent reason why the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (see Acts 11:26).
I’ve always admired this Spirit-filled man from Acts. His given name was Joseph. But once the Apostles got to know him, they began to call him Barnabas. His life displayed the heart of a servant of God willing to do whatever it took to strengthen and expand the Early Church.
Barnabas gave sacrificially and spent his life encouraging others in the faith. When God was raising up the Apostle Paul, He entrusted him to the friendship of Barnabas. When Mark was not considered trustworthy for the next missionary adventure of Paul, God entrusted the continued development of the young man to Barnabas.
A friend, a mentor, an encourager – these and more can be used to describe the character of this good man. But Luke specifically recorded: “Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)…” (Acts 4:36, ESV).
It’s as though they were saying, “if encouragement had a son, he would have named him Joseph. So from now on, we’ll call you Barnabas, the son of encouragement. Here’s your new nametag.”
To encourage literally means to inspire someone with the courage or confidence to be and do more than they previously thought they could. Oh, what a needed ministry in the Body of Christ!
Ask yourself. “What would the Early Church apostles call me?”
Join me in a brief prayer.
“Father, thank you for the Barnabas-like men and women you strategically placed in my life in the right seasons when I needed them. Please continue to surround me with believers who have the character of Barnabas. And please, help me to be a Barnabas for those around me. Help me be a friend, a mentor, and an encourager to those in need. Help me to be the kind of person that inspires courage and confidence in others to be more and do more. In the name of Jesus, my ultimate Barnabas, I pray. Amen.”