Want to stand out as an authentic disciple of Christ? Do you desire to inspire others to achieve God’s purpose and plan for their lives? Are you a biblical encourager?

If ever we needed more encouragers and balcony people it is now! The bad news reported in our media today and the host of national and international issues that discourage even the stout-hearted believer, can render a person discouraged and disheartened.

As I visit many churches I find too many believers are struggling with personal issues taking away the joy of their salvation. And then there are the many believers who have conflicts with others in the church. We may have forgotten what the Apostle Paul said to the Ephesians: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you”. Eph. 4:32

One of the things we most need to convey to others is encouragement. We need to be balcony people to those who are struggling with various issues. According to Christ, the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In the Greek, the word encouragement is paraklesis: to “be called to one’s side”, to “exhort”, to “urge”, to give joy” to “comfort”. Who in your life needs that word or act that encourages them to excel or work through their difficulties?

When Jesus spoke about the One who is to come after Him, the Helper, the Counselor, the Comforter, he was describing the work of the Holy Spirit. At a time in Paul’s life when he needed a true friend and encourager, God sent a special messenger of hope – Barnabas. Barnabas’ real name was Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He was a very generous man who assisted the disciples with resources, wisdom, and words of hope and adulation.

Let’s read how he inspired Paul at a low time in his life:

And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Acts 9:26-27

Five lessons we can learn from looking at the life of Barnabas:

Be a good steward of your resources. Barnabas gave his time, talents, and resources to assist in Kingdom Building Work. Acts 9:26-27

Be a friend to others God has put in your life. Seek to build positive and encouraging relationships with others. Acts 11:22-24

Be on alert as to where God is working and join with Him in that work. There are plenty of opportunities to assist your church, community, and the many single-parent children who are looking for inspiring mentors. 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Be sensitive to the needy. Many people are struggling with personal battles. Be open to consider how you might encourage them to get the assistance they need. What is your part in helping them become stronger? Hebrews 3:13

Be open to how you can encourage people in their spiritual journey. In speaking to the believers in Philippi, Paul stated:

Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:1-5

Personal Application:

  • How has God blessed you? How can you share your blessings, experience, and hope with those who need a word of encouragement?
  • Can you think of one person you know who could be blessed by receiving this email with a note from you about encouragement?
  • What child do you know who could use a pat on the back or a note of encouragement from an adult like yourself? Send that note or text today!

Jim Grassi, D. Min.