Recently someone gave me the nick name “Barnabas.” I kind of like that name. Actually I do like it and the name means a lot to me. It means ‘Son of Encouragement’
Shortly after my conversion experience – an older lady who was an intercessor said to me – Craig – I sense that the Lord has called you into ministry – I’m not sure if it’s an Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist or Pastor / Teacher. My immediate inner reaction was … No not a Pastor – how boring… a Prophet sounds good.
And so an intense and extended times of prayer followed and I sought the Lord to make me a Prophet. I found the Lord was giving me a prophetic edge in my prayer life and yet over the years my desire to be a prophet has waned…and through his maturing ways I feel the Lord has called me to take up the role of a pastor – and enter into the pastoral ministry – which is really exciting and not boring. 🙂
Over the years I have developed a desire to encourage people. It’s more than a desire: it is something that burns within me and I pray on a daily basis ‘Lord cause me to be an encourager!’ And I am often surprised – though perhaps I shouldn’t be, as to the ways the Lord opens the door for me to do that. It could be through prayer; a book, meal, helping hand or listening ear.
At one time I asked the Lord to show me how I could honour every minister in my local area and over a period of 6 months, the doors opened in a way for me to do that – in a way that was specific to each pastors situation.
It was about 5 – 6 years ago when I was reflecting on my calling to be a Pastor and how I was content to be such – when I came across the story of Barnabas who was considered to be a prophet… and whose name means ‘Son of Encouragement’ Barnabas was an encourager and while I no longer want to be a prophet as such – He is one of my heroes of the faith in whom I would like to emulate.
He saw the potential in people when others didn’t. He saw God’s hand working on people when others didn’t. He wasn’t frightened to stand up for others – even when it seemed they didn’t deserve to be defended. And he wasn’t scared to tell people that God was for them and not against them and he knew the generosity of God and wasn’t frightened to be generous.
I believe that a pastor has to want to be an encourager. They need to be able to see the potential in people. To be able to encourage the people God sends their way. To be able to lift them up to the Lord and encourage them that the Lord loves them and is for them and not against them. It’s my belief that if a pastor doesn’t have an encouraging bent to them – they are in the wrong calling and therefore need to do one of the following..
- Resign and do something else – for it is not your gifting and is not for you.
- Get down on your knees and ask the Lord to cause you to be an encourager.
Finally an encourager must find encouragement that sustains them within the Scriptures. They need to draw deeply from the well of encouragement, to draw deeply from the source of all encouragement. And it is from this source of encouragement that they will be enabled to truly encourage others. And if your able to do this; you to will find that you also are a son or daughter of encouragement.