[330 words]

Saul, later known as Paul, and John Mark were well-known in the early church. But they might not have achieved their positions of leadership if it had not been for the unique ministry of a lesser known personality, Barnabas. Almost every time Barnabas is mentioned in the Bible he is encouraging someone. This seems to have been his principle contribution to the growth of the church.

After Paul’s conversion, Christians were afraid to accept him because of his previous anti-Christian persecutions. It was Barnabas who had the courage to step out and take the risk to stand beside Paul and encourage him. As a result, Paul was eventually accepted by the church and went on to become a great missionary. He wrote more than one-third of the New Testament.

Similarly, John Mark needed an encourager. He had been a failure. He started out on a missionary journey and, for some unknown reason, turned back. His failure was so miserable that Paul refused to give him a second trip.

But Barnabas, the encourager, stepped in once again. He took John Mark and spent the necessary time to help him re-establish his life.

And it worked. Years later, while Paul was in prison, he wrote to Timothy and requested that he bring John Mark because he was profitable for the ministry.

Who knows what might have happened to John Mark if it had not been for Barnabas—an ordinary Christian who did what he did best, encourage people.

Every person needs a Barnabas – someone who will encourage him or her to achieve his or her potential. You can fulfill a vital ministry by being an encourager to others around you.

People respond to encouragement because it gives them hope.

If Saul and Mark had been left alone, they might have given up in despair. But, the presence of one other human being, Barnabas the encourager, gave them the sense that all was not lost. It gave them hope.

Tom Kelton
via Nettleton church of Christ
Jonesboro, AR

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