“And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:36-37 KJV)
“son of consolation”… Many of the acts recorded of Barnabas are very encouraging acts. In an age of electronic communications, we often see too many forms of communication encouraging us this way or that. A common practice to keep it all at bay is to begin to setup filters or even to proactively create queries that mine through the data and pull out only the pieces that interest us. Without even realizing it, the switch in our brains has flipped to manager. The more of a picture we see, the more overwhelming it appears to be, the more we want to step back and get the situation under control. You may even argue that knowing more helps you accomplish less. What a shame that in the attempt to corral one problem of too much information; you create another in becoming more self centered. It is a real dilemma. Can anyone blame their neighbor for responding to one email, but not the previous ten? Or texting one person back, but not the next three? If you have no interest in a given topic, why would you stop to comment on it? It is a tough call. Everyone wants a response, feedback, likes, and to be followed. Can you give any real substantive encouragement to any one if you give a little to everyone?
We spend too much time worrying about the big picture. Today may be a day in more than twenty five thousand that we get to see, but it is in so many ways unique unto today. Encouragement is so important. It is what builds people up. It is what lifts them to the next level. It gives them a boost when their battery is dead. If we are setting up filters, then aside from assuring ourselves that that is one less spam we are subjected to, it also reveals two other things about us. One is that the filter is inherently based on what we want to see. The second is that we are concerned with too much of the picture. Inevitably the mind considers each activity a part of the total activities possible. In doing so, we are concerned that taking time for one causes another to come up short. The best encouragers do one thing at a time faithfully and know that growth is realistically possible. You will be amazed at the changes that are possible when you foster one communication at a time and take the time to encourage those that the Lord points out to you en route.
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10 KJV)