Day 16 ~ EXpanding Influence
“There was a man named Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”).” Acts 4:36
The name “Joseph” is such a fine name. In Hebrew, the name means “God’s added blessing.” This was the name for the cherished son of the patriarch Jacob. This was the name for Jesus’ earthly father. So why would the apostles give Joseph of Cypress a nickname like “Barnabas?”
Barnabas, Acts makes note to tell us, means “son of Encouragement”. Apparently, this Joseph was such an encourager that a new name was in order. When the early church needed money to underwrite its ministries, Joseph sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles. When Saul of Tarsus (renamed Paul) needed a friend to welcome him into the church he once persecuted, it was this Joseph who was that friend who nurtured Paul into a ministry of his own. When the church needed to send someone to encourage the new believers among the gentiles, they sent this Joseph. When young Mark needed someone to believe in him and to give him a second chance to serve as a missionary, Joseph encouraged him. Any wonder that all of Joseph’s friends called him Barnabas – “son of encouragement”?
Your church needs generosity to underwrite its ministry. Your church needs leaders – people who can speak up, step up, and help encourage others to passionate mission and generous giving. Your gift makes a difference to the church, but so does your faith, your story, your passion. Be a Barnabas! Look for ways to encourage the faith of others by sharing your witness, your passion, your faith. In doing so you multiply God’s grace and influence the faithful response of others.
Prayer: Lord, help me to feel so joyful about what I am doing to make a difference in your kingdom that I can be a witness and encouragement to others.
Action item: Make a list of your spheres of influence – people with whom you connect regularly and whom you have the opportunity to encourage. Find at least one way to share your passion and your faith about these projects with the people in your spheres of influence.