Scripture Reading:  Acts 11:19-22

“When he (Barnabas) came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.  And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (Acts 11:23-24)

Barnabas was sent to Antioch as the representative of the mother church in Jerusalem (v. 22).  His mission was to train and teach the new believers and to organize the churches that were planted in Antioch.  When he arrived, he witnessed the grace of God in action (v. 23).  God’s grace was being poured out on these pagan Gentiles and Barnabas rejoiced with them.  He also encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord.

What better person could the church at Jerusalem have sent than Barnabas?  His name means “son of encouragement.”  Barnabas was sent to encourage the new believers in Antioch.  He is described as a good man who was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (v. 24).  He was known for his integrity, his spiritual maturity and abiding faith.  He rejoiced with the new believers in Antioch, but he also exhorted them to remain faithful to the Lord.

Barnabas was a humble and practical man also.  He knew he needed help in his ministry in Antioch, and thus he went to Tarsus to look for Saul (v. 26).  When Barnabas found him, he brought Saul to Antioch.  Saul and Barnabas ministered in Antioch for an entire year.  “For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people” (v. 26).

God knows what kind of leadership His church needs.  Christian leaders must be encouragers.  People desperately need to be encouraged.  The ups and downs of life can easily get believers off balance.  We can become proud and self-righteous on the one hand or we can become fearful and overwhelmed on the other hand.  We need people who will encourage us to remain faithful to the Lord and who help us stay focused on Him.  We need people like Barnabas in our lives who will exhort us to be “faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose” (v. 23).  

I am so thankful for the people over the years who encouraged and exhorted me.  I’ve always had a Barnabas or two in my life who came alongside of me and helped me in my Christian walk.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the faithful saints that You sent to me throughout my Christian walk.  Thank You for those who encouraged and exhorted me to remain faithful to the Lord.  Today, let me be a son of encouragement to someone as well.


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