Acts 4:36-37, “36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.”
Everyone loves to receive gifts. And one of the easiest and most meaningful gifts to give someone is the “gift of encouragement.” Encouragement literally means, “to give support.” Joseph the Levite was so supporting of his local church that the apostolic leadership called him, “Barnabas,” which means in Aramaic, “son of encouragement.”
One of the ways that Barnabas encouraged the church was by being a generous giver and financial supporter. Luke records that he sold a field that he owned and gave all the money as a gift to the apostles, who were then able to distribute it to the needs of the church. Not much is said about how much wealth Barnabas had or how many fields he owned, but nonetheless, what sticks out is that by faith he was willing to sell something valuable and give it all to the church.
Some might think it would be easy for Barnabas to sell a field and give all the money away if he was rich and had many fields. However, I know many rich people that don’t have enough faith to even give God their tithe faithfully, not to mention giving a generous offering!
Others may wrongly assume that poor people are always generous givers because they know what its like to be in need so whenever they receive extra they joyfully give it away. But that is not always true either, I used to work in the inner city of New Orleans with some of the poorest people in the US and I witnessed firsthand some of the worst cases of greed- some adults were not even willing to share the candy we gave them with their kids.
Therefore, the amount of money a person has or doesn’t have does not determine their level of generosity; it is the heart. Joseph the Levite from Cyprus had such a great big heart of giving and encouraging that even most Christians today don’t know his real name because his nickname (“son of encouragement”) has outlived him. Also, for the last two thousand years his faith has inspired literally tens of millions of Christians to be encouragers and generous givers in their local churches!
Do you want to be a generous giver and encourage God’s people?
- Ask God to give you a generous heart, free from all greed and the love of money, Matthew 6:24.
- Pray for the Lord to bless you to be a blessing to the church.
- Like Barnabas, by faith, give your best to the church you attend so that the leadership can reach people for Jesus!