Influence | What Makes You Contagious?
There was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). Acts 4:36
Joe always pointed out the silver lining and thanked God in the darkest hours. Something about him made people feel like they were gonna be okay, that things would get better, that God had a plan. So they started calling him Barnabas, the Encourager. Little did he know that within a short time, he would place his reputation on the line to vouch for the new guy in town. Without Barnabas standing next to him, the first Christians would have slammed the door. They’d heard about that guy! He was dangerous. What if he was only posing as a Christian to infiltrate their meetings? What if he was here to destroy them? But because the Son of Encouragement said it was okay, the church opened its doors to the apostle Paul (Acts 9:27).
Encouragement is a universal human need. Genuine encouragement fuels our endurance. It challenges our negative predictions and reminds us of the bright side. Encouragement is not flattery or empty promises. It’s not pie-in-the-sky denial of the facts. Encouragement brings a heavenly perspective into our earthly situations. Encouragers are ever-mindful of the words “But God…” No matter how successful or independent we may be, we respond positively when someone encourages us. It motivates us to continue in the right direction. When we make a practice of encouraging people, they are more willing to hear us when we need to correct errors. Our opinions carry weight with those we have encouraged. When people believe we want the best for them, they are more likely to open their doors when we introduce them to Jesus.
Final Thought: Would people describe you as an encourager? You can develop that trait by being intentional about it.
Prayer: Father, I’m not a very good encourager. I just don’t think about it, but I’d like to be known as a Barnabas. Help me become aware of opportunities to encourage other people. Teach me to point out the good in them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.