The gift of en­cour­age­ment

The Philippine Star - - OPINION -

Joseph . . . whom the apos­tles called Barn­abas (which means “son of en­cour­age­ment”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apos­tles’ feet. – Acts 4:36–37

An old Merle Hag­gard song, “If We Make It Through De­cem­ber,” tells the story of a man laid off from his fac­tory job with no money to buy Christ­mas gifts for his lit­tle girl. Al­though De­cem­ber is sup­posed to be a happy time of year, his life seems dark and cold.

Dis­cour­age­ment is not unique to De­cem­ber, but it can be am­pli­fied then. Our ex­pec­ta­tions may be higher, our sad­ness deeper. A lit­tle en­cour­age­ment can go a long way.

Joseph, a man from Cyprus, was among the early fol­low­ers of Je­sus. The apos­tles called him Barn­abas, which means “son of en­cour­age­ment.” We meet him in Acts 4:36–37 when he sold a piece of prop­erty and do­nated the money to help other be­liev­ers in need.

Later, we read that the dis­ci­ples were afraid of Saul (Acts 9:26). “But Barn­abas took him and brought him to the apos­tles” (v. 27). Saul, later called Paul, had for­merly been try­ing to kill the be­liev­ers, but Barn­abas de­fended him as a man trans­formed by Christ.

All around us are peo­ple long­ing to be en­cour­aged. A timely word, a phone call, or a prayer can bol­ster their faith in Je­sus.

The gen­eros­ity and sup­port of Barn­abas demon­strate what it means to be a son or daugh­ter of en­cour­age­ment. That may be the great­est gift we can give to oth­ers this Christ­mas.

– David McCasland Thank You, Lord, for the gift of en­cour­age­ment. May we en­cour­age oth­ers as they have en­cour­aged us.

READ: Acts 4:32–37; 9:26–27 En­cour­age­ment may be the great­est

gift we give this Christ­mas. Bi­ble in a Year: Daniel 11–12 and Jude

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