From: David Kabanje
Date: December 13, 2021
Subject: GMU: Be a Barnabas | Make Room for Others

Be a Barnabas 

Beautiful People, 

I had the privilege of attending Michael Jaquez's memorial on Sunday. It was full of laughter, love, and hope. Close to the end of the program, Mrs. Jaquez challenged everyone to write a letter of encouragement to someone as a testament to her husband's legacy of kindness. That is the focus of today's GMU. We all know someone who needs a word of encouragement. 'Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body" (Proverbs 16:24). There is a name in the Bible that I want us to be familiar with in this season. That name is Barnabas, it means "son of encouragement." Michael Jaquez was a Barnabas, and so can you and I. Barnabas, in Acts 9, was instrumental in validating Saul's (later known as Paul) conversion to Christianity. Where would Paul be without a son of encouragement? Who is to say, however,

Barnabas' encouragement and testimony changed the church's perception of Paul.
In Acts 15:36-41, Barnabas once again lives up to his name by encouraging John Mark, a disciple who abandoned Barnabas and Paul on a previous missionary journey. In both cases, Barnabas chose to look at Paul and John Mark with a perspective of grace—a perspective of divine love. In this, Barnabas taught us where encouragement starts. It starts with us seeing people the way God sees them—in truth and love. It is then followed by us coming alongside those who feel alienated and discouraged and providing intentional encouragement through word or deed. Above all else, Barnabas showed us that the ministry of encouragement creates space for others in our hearts and our lives. Encouragement makes room to see others' pain and provides us with tools to fill that pain. Encouragement is a gift from God, friends.

So, what are we to do in light of all of this? Well, l challenge each of us to be a Barnabas. I challenge each of us to look at people from Heaven's perspective and pray for wisdom to fill their bucket with intentional encouragement. Take time today to write a letter of encouragement to someone. Let that become a daily ministry. For the students reading this at Union, post something on uGroups this week to encourage another peer. For the staff and faculty members reading this, share an encouraging thought or verse with a colleague. And for anyone in-between, be intentional in serving encouragement to the person you think least deserves it. Regardless of what you do today, create room for each other through encouragement! By the grace of God, let's create a culture of encouragement.