In courage

Acts 4:32-37: Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul…There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Alexei Navalny, a political dissident, has been imprisoned in Russia, but he continues to inspire the people. One description of him says that he “would surely have been pleased that so many overcame their fear.," and that "His career had been a crusade against apathy and learned helplessness.”

People who bring out the best in others do not always make us comfortable. The name of Barnabas, a man who joined the followers of Jesus by giving his resources to the movement, means “son of encouragement.” Such encouragement cannot come only in words, but must come in actions. People followed and listened to the Jesus movement because its proponents’ actions echoed their words.

I would like to be known as a person who encourages others. I struggle, though, with the idea of challenging myself or others, as I do not enjoy anything in the neighborhood of confrontation or discomfort. But if I choose to live out God’s kingdom on earth, won’t I sometimes have to make other people a bit uncomfortable with my encouraging?

Shouldn’t godly encouragement rouse us from our “apathy and learned helplessness”?

Psalms 15, 67; Sirach 31:3-11 (Barnabas the Apostle)

Copyright 2021 by Carol Mead.  For noncommercial use and sharing only. For more information on this ministry, and on a free subscription to these meditations, please contact the author by email (

Join Our Mailing List