Why Was This Blog Column Originally Titled "Barnabas"?

by Don Hooser
 
This column is for articles, blogs and book reviews that are not about one particular topic in the list of topics. It is for uplifting pieces that encourage, comfort, inspire and motivate.
 

“Barnabas” translates as “son of encouragement,” meaning one who encourages. He was a minister and eventually an apostle of the early New Testament church. We are first introduced to him in Acts 4:36-37, where the Good News Bible says, “And so it was that Joseph, a Levite born in Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "One who Encourages"), sold a field he owned, brought the money, and turned it over to the apostles.” The previous verses explain the purpose of the gift—to help fellow believers who were in serious need financially.

 

So we also see that Barnabas was compassionate and generous. And don’t those qualities go together? A person who takes time to encourage others is being generous with his time and his kind words.

 

Another significant description of Barnabas is in Acts 11:23-24—“When he [Barnabas] arrived [in Antioch] and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord.”

 
Please see the two inspiring articles in this column about Barnabas. You will see the additional evidence of how kind and encouraging he was.
 
So for a column intended to encourage, comfort, inspire and motivate our readers, you can see why we named it “Barnabas.” We live in a discouraging world and we all thrive on encouragement!
 
Any kind of difficult personal struggle tends to be discouraging, whether it is a struggle to cope with and overcome an addiction, a bad habit, a temptation to sin, a character flaw or a spiritual weakness. Many struggle with the persistent effects and scars of hurtful experiences such as abuse. Many struggle with the handicapping conditions of physical or mental disabilities. And many struggle with overwhelming grief from the losses in their lives.
 
We want to offer hope in place of hopelessness, courage and determination in place of discouragement, spiritual toughness in place of weakness, clear goals in place of confusion, motivation for those who are passive or mentally paralyzed, and inspiration for those who have lost heart. No matter what your predicament, we want to help you to break free!
 
If you have your own story or someone else’s story to share that can give hope and encouragement to others, please consider sending it in to us. You too can be a Barnabas!
 
(Articles submitted to Breaking Free Journal can be sent to don_hooser@ucg.org.)