Barnabas was a special man. His name means “son of encouragement” and he lived up to his name by being an encourager. Paul had been persecuting the Christians for years. Then he got converted and became a new person, but the people still didn’t believe it. Barnabas was the only one in the church who stood up for Paul. Barnabas dared to believe in him and affirm him. Do you know anybody who doesn’t need some encouragement and affirmation every now and then? Everyone needs what we call in our home a “warm fuzzy” – a hug, a kind word, a deed, a word of praise, the knowledge that someone is going to stand up for you. It is the feeling that you get when you know somebody cares and believes in you, no matter what. Even the most hard-nosed, calloused, and self-sufficient among us need that warm fuzzy feeling from encouragement. Encouragement is the fuel that runs the human engine better than anything that I know. If Barnabas had never stood up for Saul, he might never have become Paul, the great missionary of God. Your words of encouragement and praise and affirmation might be just what someone needs in order for them to become all that God had in mind.
– Dr. Tim Thompson