I took a walk through a park recently and saw something I fondly remembered. Lots of young parents sitting on benches talking while their kids played on a nearby playground. Infants, toddlers, and children crawling in the dirt, chasing one another around, playing hide and seek, and a myriad of other games. A few kids sat on the swing set, waiting for someone to give them a push.
I remembered the fun I had giving my kids that first push on the seat they sat on. You know what happens when you push a kid on a swing, right? They yell, “Push me harder, daddy!” Pretty soon they are straining their arms and legs, pumping, and doing it themselves. That’s what my role was at the time – to help them get started…to give them that first push.
Encouraging others along their path in life is of great worth. Read Acts 11:19-26.
Joseph, a godly man mentioned in the book of Acts, modeled the gift of encouragement. In the early days of the church (Acts 4:36-37), he sold some land and gave the money to the church to help care for the less fortunate. He also traveled with the apostle Paul on some of his journeys and helped to preach the gospel (i.e., good news) of Jesus (Acts 11:22-26, 13:1-4).
Joseph was also known as “Barnabus,” which is the name given by the apostles to the “son of encouragement.” When the Jerusalem church heard that people in Antioch were starting to express faith in Jesus, they sent Barnabus because “he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (11:24). Scripture says when he saw evidence of the grace of God, he “was glad and encouraged them to remain true to the Lord with all their heart” (v 23). It was necessary because temptation, sin, and culture could persuade a new believer to turn away from salvation in Christ.
Barnabus shows how critical it is help and encourage new converts to continue in love, faith, and committed relationships with Christ and his people (13:43 and 14:22).
What a great example for us to emulate! Who can you give a “push of encouragement” to this week in their walk with Christ?
Love is a verb,
P.S. A little spark of encouragement can ignite great effort, energy, and endurance.