11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Yesterday I was able to speak about one of most encouraging people I have ever studied in the Bible, Barnabas. I have seen his name many a times in the Bible but never really took the time to stop and dig in. You know how that goes some times. We find ourselves looking for the bigger actors in the Bible like Jesus, Paul, John, Mary and Joseph, etc... but sometimes God is able to completely change your world by the little things that we have missed all of our lives. The first time this happened to me was when I discovered a very short passage in Chronicles about a man named Jabez whose name meant "to give birth in pain" was only mentioned twice in the Bible but his passion for change was amazing. He asked God to increase his territory and God did, and that's all we hear about Jabez. Then we watch as the Church is beginning to form and all of a sudden, Joseph the Levite is introduced after the day of Pentecost and he is nicknamed Barnabas which meant "Son of Encouragement". Now I really don't want to belabor the point but I do want you to know the amazing agent of change that Barnabas was in the life of the disciples and the life of one man Saul/Paul.
Now I am going to leave that part right there for you to dig in for yourself, but I am not going to leave the message behind. In a time that we are all struggling to find connection and purpose, we all need someone who is going to check into our lives and be our encourager. Today the word that I entitled this blog is Encouragram. Many of you have probably never heard of this word and if you looked it up in the dictionary it would not exist. It was a world that I came to now from a mission experience I had as a youth. An encouragram is a little note of encouragement to help spurn others on during their joinery in life. It is the ability that we have to look past the world's eyes and to look through the eyes of
Jesus. Basically it is our ability to live out the life example of Barnabas by helping to inspire others in their daily walk. So many people today are really questioning their basic existence and we have seen during this pandemic a growth in isolation and doubt. Suicide numbers are rising and more and more people continue to wonder if life even matters anymore. And the answer is YES. Satan has found a way to once again infiltrate the minds of those who are in a bad state and is winning the battle for their lives. In the same way, the early church at Antioch was struggling and questioning how they were going to survive with all of the persecution of Christians. So the disciples sent in their foundational encourager Barnabas to build, equip and encourage them to press on for Jesus. Needless to say, the Church grew and God's glory was revealed.
I chose this scripture today because I did use it as an example of a life that was changed. Paul was the one that first encouraged and mentored by Barnabas. Basically his life was a flipped upside down but no one was willing to give him the time of day until Barnabas stepped in and gave him credibility. Barnabas took him with him to Antioch and Jerusalem and then God took over. Barnabas was able to see something in Saul/Paul that the rest of the world could not see. God gave Barnabas a prophetic prospective that allowed him to look past all of the bad and all of the chaos that surrounded Saul's life and see the potential that God was going to reveal through Saul. Shortly, Saul was renamed Paul and wrote the majority of the letters/books of the New Testament. Paul became the greatest missionary that we have ever known and it was all due to the "Son of Encouragement", Barnabas, who was willing to be a living encouragram in the life of Paul. Barnabas never thought about himself once he connected with God, but looked at the bigger picture for opportunities to help others to experience the love of God as well. All throughout the writings of Paul you can see the influence of Barnabas and God. I ask you the same question that I asked others before, "What if Barnabas would not have stepped into the role of encourager?" Honestly what would the world have missed because of our inability to step out of the past and see the potential through God's eyes.
I say all of that to encourage you to be a living encouragram. Find ways to speak encouragement into the life of others and see beyond the world's definition of their life. Help to push them to move past their past and see the opportunities to fulfill God's purpose for their life that lie ahead. It is not easy because we live in a world that is so ready to steal the joy and replace it with the negative. We live in a time where people are isolated and doubting their future. What better time to introduce and agent of change into their lives and encourage them to see what God sees. All throughout this blog today I used different encouraging saying to hopefully show you just how easy it is to be an ecouragram. How easy it is to just take a second and send an uplifting image or Scripture verse to those you know
may be in need of an encouraging word. Yes, it means that we step out of our schedule and our busy lives and find a way to think more about someone else than ourselves. It an be a family member, friend, or a complete stranger. We are all in this world together and to be honest, it is time we took time to acknowledge the right thing to do and encourage one another. God has so much more still in store for this world and if we are still living, God is still fighting for us. May I conclude today with one final encouraging word. You are loved. Even if you look in the mirror and hear the whispers and believe the lies, I just want you to know that you are loved and that God still has a plan for your life. YOU MATTER!! YOU ARE A CREATION OF GOD... and GOD DOESN'T MAKE JUNK. Step out and take the chance to encourage someone today. You never know how that will impact the world for the future. Be an ENCOURAGRAM... Carry the message of encouragement to everyone you meet.