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.”
Do you like being encouraged? How well are you at giving encouragement? One of the easiest and most meaningful gifts you can give someone is the “gift of encouragement.” Encouragement means, “to give support.” Joseph the Levite was so supporting of his local church that the apostolic leadership called him, “Barnabas,” which in Aramaic means, “Son of Encouragement.”
One of the ways that Barnabas encouraged the church was by being a generous giver and financial supporter. Luke recorded in the book of Acts that he sold a field and gave all the money as a gift to the apostles. Because of his gift, the church was able to distribute it to meet 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, let alone a generous offering!
Others may wrongly assume that poor people are always generous givers because they know what it’s like to be in need. Therefore, whenever they have extra they will 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 U.S. and I witnessed firsthand some of the worst cases of greed. Even some adults were not even willing to share the candy we gave them with their children- they’d say, “Get your own!”
The amount of money a person has doesn’t determine their level of generosity; their heart does.
Joseph, the Levite from Cyprus, had such an encouraging heart of generosity that most Christians today don’t know his real name because his nickname Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement”) has defined him. Not only that, but for over two thousand years his faith has inspired millions of Christians to be encouragers and generous givers in their local church!
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). Jeremy Taylor wrote, “He, who gives what he would as readily throw away, gives without generosity; for the essence of generosity is in self-sacrifice.”
- Pray for the Lord to bless you to be a blessing to the church.
- By faith, give your best to the church!
One Year Reading Plan
Ezekiel 45:13-46:24, 1 Peter 1:13-2:10, Psalm 119:33-48, & Proverbs 28:11. Click here to read online.