Barnabas wasn’t his given name. His parents called him Joseph. But he had a wonderful gift of encouraging and the other apostles called him Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” (Acts 4:36)
Getting a new name was just the beginning. He and Paul set off on a missionary trip to Cyprus and Barnabas took along his young cousin John Mark. But after the first leg of the trip, John Mark returned home to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:1-13) Mark’s leaving in the middle of the trip really annoyed Paul. In fact Paul was so annoyed that on the next trip when Mark wanted to try it again, Paul said, “Absolutely not!” and refused to take Mark with him. But Barnabas saw Mark’s potential and insisted that Mark be allowed to accompany them. Barnabas and Paul had a heated argument about this and parted company. Paul took Silas with him and they traveled to Syria and Cilicia. Barnabas and Mark went on their own missionary journey back to Cyprus. (Acts 15:36-41)
You see the blessings of this? Now there are two evangelism teams instead of one! Mark matured into a faithful worker for Christ because of Barnabas’ encouragement. The rift with Paul was healed and at the end of his life Paul would write to Timothy: “Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” (II Timothy 4:11)
Look around! Who can you encourage today? Oh, what blessings will follow your words of encouragement! God bless you on this Saint Barnabas Day.