Written By: George Warren
One of my favorite Bible characters is a man named Barnabus. Actually that wasn’t his real name; it was more of a nickname, as “Barnabus” in Hebrew means “Son of Encouragement.”
Barnabus was an encouraging person. He was the one who vouched for Saul to the Christians in Jerusalem. You’ll remember that Saul had earlier presided over the stoning of Stephen and was en route to imprison Christians in Damascus when he had a dramatic conversion experience that turned his life around. He began preaching for Christ in Damascus and was so persuasive that he had to sneak out of town because he was now being persecuted for his zeal. However, how is he to go back to Jerusalem? They don’t know how he’s changed!
Enter Barnabus. The “Son of Encouragement” introduced Saul and vouched for his sincerity. The Christians received him and accepted him, warily at first but then joyfully. Later, Saul, renamed Paul, became the first great traveling missionary and the church’s first great theologian. We focus a lot on Paul’s work; but without Barnabus, he may never have had that positive a start in the church. Oh, he probably still would be a Christian, but he might have gotten disgruntled over their reluctance or discouraged over their fear or even despairing over his guilt. If there had been no Barnabus, there may have never been a Paul!
We need some more “Sons (and daughters) of Encouragement”!!