Thought for the Day by Hannah Lievesley (St Chad’s)
Readings: Acts 11:19-30
Everyone needs recognition for their accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father: “Let’s play basketball. I’ll shoot and you say ‘Brilliant!'”
Barnabas was a great encourager. He was originally called Joseph, but the Apostles renamed him ‘Barnabas’ meaning ‘Son of Encouragement’. They were quick to choose him as the perfect person to send to a new and blossoming church in Antioch.
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to give a word of encouragement but it can have a lasting effect. When my children were young, we attended a church with a youth worker who would sometimes stand near the entrance doors to welcome the young people as they arrived. As they walked in, he’d give them a kind of shout-out: “Yay! It’s ‘A-mazing Alice”. “And look, here comes In-credible Isaac!” They’d laugh and groan at him, but I wasn’t the only one who saw these kids visibly gain an inch in height every time he did it.
Of course, this isn’t the job of just the youth worker. It’s for a whole Christian Community to encourage and be encouraged by one another. It’s an instruction that peppers the New Testament letters to new churches, and it was, no doubt, an attribute that enabled them to grow and flourish so well.
Who are the people in your church, family, school, workplace, or wider community who would benefit from a word of encouragement from you today?