When was the last time someone surprised you with a word of encouragement or praise for a job well done? Perhaps a friend wrote a note simply telling you they appreciate you. Whatever happened, it brought a smile to your face and made you feel just a bit better, didn’t it? We all appreciate such thoughtfulness and it inspires us to do even better in our work or family.
Let’s take the opportunity to encourage others as much as we can. A good example was Barnabas, an encourager par excellence. We all remember how he traveled with Paul on the first missionary journey, but even before that he was well-known to fellow Christians. Many people had heard the Gospel in Antioch and believed in Jesus as their Savior, as it was preached by those who had fled the persecution in Jerusalem. Acts 11:22-24 tells us News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Later, Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch (Acts 11:25-26). Saul’s name had not yet been changed to Paul, the Greek form of the word.
Wouldn’t you like to be more like Barnabas? I certainly would! One of the spiritual gifts is encouragement, and Barnabas had it. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. . . if it is encouraging, let him encourage (Romans 12:6a, 8c). Perhaps we’d think, ‘Well, that’s not my spiritual gift, so I don’t need to encourage others.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone needs reassurance from time to time, and we may just be the person who can see that need and minister at a particular time.
God can use anyone in any way He likes, so our biggest job is to simply be available for the way He wants us to serve daily. I’ve heard people preaching the salvation message when they were simply talking in a small group of people; that did not mean God called them to be a pastor. He was only using an available person to speak to one who needed to hear. In the same way, God can use you and me to give a cheerful word to someone who may need it at that very minute. So, let’s start a new habit simply by being alert to the feelings of those around us wherever we are. See how God would use you in someone else’s life to bring a good word for the day to them!