Make me an encourager

Of all the times I’ve lived through, including both bad times and bad situations, I don’t think I ever remember hearing so many stories of neighbours helping neighbours or of strangers helping strangers. Although, admittedly, kindness doesn’t erase a virus called corona, but it sure makes its consequences easier to bear.

Like many of you, I’ve read through the biblical Book of Acts many times and heard often of Barnabas; having said that, these past few days he and his life have stood out to me in a new way. As the newly launched church was in the process of expanding to include Gentiles as well as Jewish believers, contention arose. (Some things never change as one group finds it hard to accept another.) Paul and Barnabas travelled to the affected churches to admonish Jewish believers to open their hearts to these new brothers and sisters.

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Paul’s life and ministry revealed that he was very human; even as he admonished believers to open their hearts to others, at least once he found it impossible to do the same. Specifically, he was not willing to have John Mark accompany them on another mission trip because he’d “abandoned” them earlier. Barnabas, however, was willing to give him a second chance. The men parted company. (Thankfully they later resolved the issue - Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:23,24)

As I refer back to my appreciation for friends and neighbours, we need to be careful that we maintain a gracious and helping spirit even when the restrictions are lifted.  Being an encourager isn’t always about roses and appreciation but may God remind us of how He’s used others to bless us and how He asks that we become blessing to others. We’ll never agree on everything but may God make us ambassadors of His forgiveness and inspiration.

“Brethren, love one another….”

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