It is a little known fact that Barnabas’ actual name was Joseph (see Acts 4:36). The name Barnabas was given to him by the apostles because of what it means, son of encouragement, (and the reason our weekly newsletter for the church is called the Encourager), as he was a source of great encouragement to the early Church. He was all in, selling considerable assets and giving them to the work of ministry. But his contributions were not merely financial alone, but by the very investment of his life thereafter.
Barnabas gave his life to the advancement of the Kingdom of God by quite literally traveling to communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who had yet to hear it. He was a companion to the apostle Paul in the early missionary journeys around the Mediterranean (I.e. in Antioch where they are first called Christians). He served as an encouragement not only financially but in word and deed to many. We are called to this rich legacy as ones who bear his name as a church.
Perhaps we might consider how we may be an example of ‘all in’ for Jesus and what we more fully need to commit to the Lord in our own lives as we reflect upon Barnabas this week. We are also called to be a source of encouragement to one another in the household of Faith and in the world around us. May we reflect the hope of Jesus in our words, attitudes, and life to a world that needs to see Him. As we do these things, we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, whose path Barnabas faithfully followed and whose name we bear and celebrate this Sunday.