Welcome Home – 40 Day Fast Devotion #31

The Power of Encouragement

Matt Destry – Communications Pastor

Scripture

Acts 9:27

But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

Insight

The power of encouragement can not be understated. Can you remember a time when you were fearful or timid, but were pushed along by the words or actions of a friend? We like to operate alone, without help from others, but the truth is that we were created for community and we receive the strength and courage we need to follow Jesus from others.

Saul’s life had been transformed, but his reputation followed him. Everywhere he went, people viewed him with suspicion and trepidation. This reaction is understandable – most disciples would have been fearing for their lives with Saul around! As Saul entered a new city, the reaction was the same – the disciples in that city were afraid that it was some kind of trick to arrest or capture them.

Here enters Barnabas. The ‘son of encouragement’ was the advocate Saul needed to authenticate his story to the rest of the group. Saul’s word alone would have meant nothing, what was needed was the words from a trusted friend to testify to Saul’s transformation. Alone, Saul was viewed as an enemy, with Barnabas, he became a friend.

Each of us can use the power of encouragement to serve others. Our friends can waver, slip and fall prey to the gossip and bad intentions of others, but with someone ‘in their corner’ to encourage them, anything is possible! Who can you encourage this week? Who can you advocate for? When we ‘put courage in’ to others, we more and more reflect the image of God, who sent His Holy Spirit to encourage us.

Reflection Questions:

1/ When have you been encouraged? What did you do, that you wouldn’t have done if that encouragement was absent?
2/ Who can you encourage in your life right now?
3/ What needs to happen in you for you to become more of an encourager?