In the August 17, 2022 edition of “Our Daily Bread,” Alyson Kieda shares about the importance of encouragement to our life. She tells the story of how seven-year-old Thomas Edison didn’t like or do well in school. One day, he was even called “addled” (mentally confused) by a teacher. He stormed home in anger. After speaking with the teacher the next day, his mother, a teacher by training, decided to teach Thomas at home. Helped along by her love and encouragement, along with his God-given genius, Thomas went on to become a great inventor. He later wrote, “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.”
In the book of Acts we come across a Christian man whose name is Barnabas, meaning “Son of Encouragement.” Barnabas was a disciple known for his mentoring and support of other people. He was originally named Joseph but received the nickname Barnabas for his notable encouragement to others. In Acts 15:36-40, we read that Barnabas and the apostle Paul served together as missionaries until they had a major disagreement about whether or not to bring along John Mark. Paul was opposed because Mark had previously “deserted them in Pamphylia” (vv. 36–38) when they were on a missionary journey. As a result, Paul and Barnabas split for the next missionary journey. Paul took Silas, and Barnabas took Mark. Barnabas was willing to give Mark a second chance, and his encouragement contributed to Mark’s ability to serve and succeed as a missionary. Additionally, Mark went on to write the gospel which bears his name. Eventually, Paul and Mark made up, because Paul later writes in one of his New Testament letters of how much comfort Mark was to Paul while he was in prison (2 Timothy 4:11).
All of us can look back and point to someone in our life who encouraged and helped us along our way. God may be calling you to do the same for someone in your life. Whom might you encourage? Perhaps God is calling you to be someone’s encourager today.
Be a blessing to someone,