“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their
needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
As a college junior, I once scored a 38 percent on an important test in my major. Trembling and on the verge of tears, I went to my professor’s office. I feared that he would tell me I wasn’t cutting it and that it was time to change my field of study. Instead, he clarified a couple of key concepts I had missed, showed me where I’d made some careless mistakes, and said, “You can do this. Stick with it!”
What a difference an encouraging word can make! An encouraging word can be the difference between finishing well and giving up. Because of my professor’s encouragement, I stuck with the class and salvaged a respectable grade. A year and a half later, I completed my degree in Math/Computer Science.
Though his given name was Joseph, that is not how we remember him. He is mentioned 34 times in the New Testament by his nickname, Barnabas. “A son of encouragement.”
Barnabas took up for Paul when the church leaders in Jerusalem questioned the genuineness of his conversion. Barnabas went to bat for John Mark when Paul doubted his tenacity for mission work. Barnabas gave generously from his means to support the work of the apostles and the mission of the early church. Barnabas was an important friend to two who made important contributions to the New Testament: Paul, the author of numerous epistles (and the earliest writings of the New Testament) and Mark, who may have edited Peter’s memories into what is now the gospel of Mark (the original gospel). Barnabas was an encourager.
Be an encourager today. Share a heartfelt “Thank you.” Tell a coworker, “You did a good job.” Tell your spouse, “I appreciate you.” Tell your child, “I’m proud of you.” You never know when a good word from you might make all the difference in the life of one of God’s precious creations.