Today I came across a devotional on the encouragement that Barnabas gave to the believers. We first come across him in Acts 4:36:
One fellow, a Cyprian Levite named Joseph, earned a nickname because of his generosity in selling a field and bringing the money to the apostles in this way. From that time on, they called him Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement."Acts 4:36 (The Voice)
This passage lets us know two very important things about this Joseph, one that he was a generous man in a time when the early church was forming. He sold one of his fields and unlike Ananias and Saphira did not hold back any of the proceeds, rather brought all the proceeds and gave it to the Apostles. The second thing we know is that after this act, they called him Barnabas, identifying him as the "son of encouragement".
Anytime you try to start a new work, particularly a work of faith in the Lord Jesus, there is an active adversary in the midst. The enemy of our souls works overtime to try to either destroy the work or at the very least to thwart it. It is also common to have naysayers around, who seek to discourage you and by that discouragement persuade you to cease what you are doing. It would be easy to assume that because 3,000 joined the church that first day of Pentecost, and others were added daily, that all was well. That was certainly not the case. There was an active sect of Jews and Gentiles alike who daily brought forth opposition to this work. When a man such as Joseph comes and brings not only verbal encouragement but material encouragement, that is a cause for celebration.
We may not always have a field to sell and bring the proceeds to the church, but we can always take on the spirit of Barnabas and be an encouragement, that costs nothing. Why is it then, so hard to give?
Something to think about,