Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Ever hear about Vitamin B12 shots?

Usually they are prescribed for people who have pernicious anemia – a condition that causes, among other things, fatigue, depression, shortness of breath. Vitamin B12 is crucial to the proper functioning of the body.

Well, today I'm talking about a shot of another sort – a shot of Barnabas.

First of all, who was this Barnabas character?

He is first mentioned in a sort of *throwaway* verse in the book of Acts as a member of the early church:

"For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles." (Acts 4:36-37)

Ah, but let us not fool ourselves.

Barnabas was not a background character. God had a prominent role for Barnabas to play.

Later in Acts, we see him willing to risk his life to meet with the newly-converted Paul, and then to convince others that their former enemy was now a vibrant believer in Jesus. (I would love to have been privy to that conversation. "Uh, guys, remember that Saul guy? Well, um, you see, he's met Jesus and...")

What might have happened to Paul without Barnabas?

It was Barnabas who accompanied Paul on his missionary trips. It was Barnabas who encouraged Mark to go with them. And, when disagreement rose up between Paul and Mark, Barnabas left with Mark on a separate journey. His patient encouragement was a huge factor in the effectiveness of Mark's eventual ministry.

What might have happened to Mark without Barnabas?

One can only speculate how many other people were affected by the "Son of Encouragement" – the one who became one of the most quietly influential people in the early days of Christianity.

Here's a hint:

"When [Barnabas] arrived and saw evidence of God's blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:23-24)

Our pastor talked about Barnabas a few weeks back. And these were the qualities he emphasized:

- Had radical attitudes and desires – bold
- Courageously believed people into being – accepting, loving, and
promoting them
- Believed the best in people – seeing what they could be
- Invested his time in people – a humble servant
- Fearlessly committed to change the world – spoke truth and grace
- Graciously gave second chances – patient and enduring

Would this describe you? Does this describe me?

I got a phone call a couple of weeks ago, from my oldest son, shortly after this message. He was working through some *stuff* – and this is what he said to me…

"Hey Mom. Can we talk? I need a shot of Barnabas."

And hence, this blog post. My son needed a boost, a good word, a bold statement of hope. He needed a confident word of faith. He needed an injection of Holy Spirit encouragement.

He needed a little shot of Barnabas into his life.

Don't we all at some time or another need that?

I know I do.

And I have been encouraged by many "Barnabases" – (or should that be "Barnabi"??) – along the way. People who have truly en-couraged me – (I blogged about that here). People who gave me back my *fighting sword* – people who wiped the mud off my face – people who lovingly refused to let me give up.

I thank the Lord for all of them (you know who you are) – and for those moments when I was given a shot of Barnabas.

But I am also honored when God uses me as a Barnabas in the life of someone else.

Being an encourager is so much more than just being nice and saying a kind word. It is helping a person re-connect their spirit to the power of the Holy Spirit. It is literally performing spiritual CPR on a flagging heart. It is actively seeking to uphold other believers, and spurring them on to a dauntless and single-minded pursuit of God. It is urging the Body of Christ to re-dedicate and re-focus themselves on the Great Commission to tell others about Him.

Being an encourager is being bold.

It is giving shots of Barnabas-12 – crucial to the proper functioning of the Body.

It can be the antidote for spiritual fatigue, depression of the heart, and shortness of reviving breath.

It is infusing someone with the Blood of the Lamb.

Trust me, it will cure many an anemic soul!

Who has been a Barnabas to you? And to whom is God calling you to be a Barnabas?

(I am linked with Joan, a true Barnabas, at her GRACE CAFE)

(And please join me at "Hear It On Sunday, Use It On Monday" hosted by Michelle)

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I think that was neat that your son realized you were a Barnabas and felt comfortable coming to you for advice, wisdom, encouragement, etc. We all need a Barnabas in our lives! I have been on both ends, Barnabas to a dear young girl where we used to live in Montana and conversely someone was a Barnabas to me in that area too, a dear lady who mentored me and encouraged me through so much (and interesting we lost touch after I moved, but reconnected this week after a five year absence). Definitely need to look for more Barnabas opportunities!

    have a great day Sharon!


  2. Love this! I could use a shot of Barnabas right about now...

  3. I just came over to catch up and get my 'shot'! I got it!!

    I'm also so happy that your tests results were good. You were tested during those tests. I love the message God gave to your heart. Precious!


  4. Thrilled your test came out okay. And my what a wonderful compliment to you that your son feels he can talk to you for advice! I admire you both.

  5. Sharon - I often need that shot of encouragement (a Barnabus shot). And you have provided that for me many times!

    Thank you for this wonderful post and for sharing it at the Grace Cafe. I am humbled by your words about me being a Barnabus - it is my prayer to be a true encourager to others.


    PS - I'm thankful your test results were okay.

  6. This very anemic soul has been on the receiving end of your vitamin Barnabas 12 many times, and I am the stronger Christian because of it.

    That's all I have to say about that.

  7. Blessings and thank you Sharon (alias Barnabas B12) how your son came to you and knows you as we do as the great encourager and booster you are! Every time i read your words, I receive that B12 supplement...

    Great Biblical points and such a blessing! This stands out the most to me(the bold):

    "It can be the antidote for spiritual fatigue, depression of the heart, and shortness of reviving breath."

    "It is infusing someone with the Blood of the Lamb."

    So glad I did not need any injections but this kind I could take any day... being washed in His blood! Resting to get strength to return to B12
    BOLDNESS. Excellent admonition for the Body of BELIEVERS. I'm seeking RELIEF today and it's spelled J-E-S-U-S!

    Love and thanks,

  8. Doesn't the world need more Barnabas? Yes, yes...and I know all of mine and I also know how I have felt when I didn't have a Barnabas in my life. I hope I have been a Barnabas also...but I can say, I am less of a Barnabas with my family, I tend to want to "encourage" through who really needs that?

    Thanks..this encouraged me to be more encouraging to those I am with daily.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)