Be a Barnabas

"There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas. He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet."

(Acts 4:36-37)

Background

In the early church, all assets were held in common. The focus was on the community of believers and not on the individual. The order and needs of the community were the first priority. Even funds were distributed based on the good of the community. Each community member shared in the chores and cared for the others. Joseph's name was changed to Barnabas because of his great commitment to the church. The name Barnabas means "son of encouragement."

Activity: Be a Barnabas

  1. Set aside time each week to encourage each family member. Create a bulletin board (or use the front of the refrigerator) and place notes or achievements for each person in your home. Surprise one another with the actions or achievements that are placed on the board.
  2. If you pack your child's lunch on school days, write a note and enclose it in the lunch bag.
  3. If a family member travels often, hide notes in different places of the luggage or in clothes so that the surprise of encouragement goes on the road, too. Here are some encouraging Scripture suggestions:
    • "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9).
    • "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).
    • "Nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).

Prayer

Thank you, God, for the gift of family. Help me to be a person, like Barnabas, who offers encouragement to my family and sets aside my personal wants for the best interest of our family. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are some ways that you typically place the needs and interests of your family above your own desires?
  2. How does it feel to receive encouragement from a family member?
  3. What are some indicators in your own life of God's encouragement to you?

Ruth M. Blum is an ordained United Methodist Deacon who serves as Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church in Glendale, Arizona. You may contact Ruth by e-mail at [email protected].

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