But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. - Hebrews 3:13
Discouragement will drain your energy, especially when you face trials. That’s why, it’s very helpful to spend time with people who know how to encourage. Some people know just what to do or say to remind you that life is worthwhile, even in the midst of pain and failure. They know how to inspire when there seems to be nothing to hope for. Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement,” was just that kind of guy.
Barnabas’ gift of encouragement was demonstrated through his financial generosity, leadership, and teaching of new believers. He accepted the apostle Paul when others were afraid of him and doubted his conversion. It’s probably accurate to say that Barnabas changed the course of church history and the shape of the New Testament by persevering in his encouragement to John Mark.
On his first missionary journey John Mark abandoned his friends. Barnabas was willing to give him a second chance. Paul wouldn’t hear of it. But with Barnabas’ encouragement, Mark became faithful in his missionary ministry and Paul’s respect and friendship was restored. Later he would write the Gospel of Mark.
Are you feeling discouraged? Just as was true for John Mark, failure need not be the end for you. The forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ gives you the chance for a new start. Persevere. God is a God of second chances. And in time you, like Barnabas, will have the privilege of encouraging others along the way.
“Remember, man does not live on bread alone: Sometimes he needs a little buttering up.”
-John Maxwell (1947- )
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Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.