23 “When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”
Acts 11:23 (NIV)
When a coach walks into a locker room, he wants to see evidence of a team coming together, staying together, holding together, remaining true and dedicated to the mission.
He wants to be glad at what he sees. And his team needs him to bring them encouragement in their journey. They need to be affirmed, challenged and spurred on.
That scenario plays out beautifully in Acts 11:23. And oh, how it must play out in us too! Note with me three specific encouragements.
SEEING EVIDENCE: Barnabas turned up his spiritual awareness and immediately saw evidence of the grace of God. What did this look like?
Specifically, the goodness of God, the gospel, was being passed on to others, many others, regardless of status. It wasn’t being hoarded. It wasn’t getting stuck. The “ball” was being shared without discrimination.
It was impressive. And it became game-changing throughout the whole world.
SENSING GLADNESS: Barnabas was glad. He was glad for God at work in others. Multiplication was taking place and he was selflessly pumped.
It’s a beautiful thing to let yourself truly empathize with others, practicing Romans 12:15. Bringing our gladness for others, to others, is a big-time expression. Everyone wins when this happens.
SENDING ENCOURAGEMENT: The name Barnabas means “encouragement.” Barnabas was encouragement. When he showed up, so did encouragement. He brought it to others faithfully and certainly found reasons for encouragement too.
His main message was “remain true to the Lord with all your heart.” Of all the ways someone could be challenged and encouraged, this is a great one!
Reflect: Who could you share the good news with today, perhaps even someone unlike you? Who needs some empathy today? Who needs your message of encouragement to “remain true to the Lord with all your heart” today?
When people see you coming, do they sense encouragement is on the way?
A prayer to consider: LORD, O, how I love Your words of life! I want them to play out in me and bring gladness to others, to You.
Help me to see the grace of God at work in others and champion it. And help me by your Word and your Spirit to remain true to You no matter what.
I want others to be encouraged and remain true too. Encourage me to encourage others. Amen.
Remain true to the Lord with all your heart. This is my encouragement to you.