Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If I Can't Be Smiley, Call Me Barnabas

Smiley - that was my nickname in high school. When every guy on my basketball team had
his picture taken by the local newspaper, everyone put on the "tough guy expression." Except me. I was the goofy guy smiling from ear to ear. The nickname was easy and it stuck. I became known as Smiley. I'm actually proud to be known as Smiley because it sort of captures who I am - a positive, happy, goofy guy who refuses to grow up.

One of my favorite nicknames in the Bible belongs to a guy named Joseph. He had the cool nickname of Barnabas, "son of encouragement."  (Acts 4:36) If I could trade my nickname, Smiley, for another name, I'd definitely choose Barnabas, son of encouragement. 

I like encouragers - they lift people up and they make their corner of the world a better place. Let me encourage you to try your hand at being a son or daughter of encouragement by doing these five simple things everyday:
  • See God at work around you
  • See possibilities in others
  • Choose to be positive
  • Be a person of integrity
  • Point out the good in people
The good news about being an encourager is it takes no special talent. You don't need money. You don't need a special skill. You just need to be willing to invest in people - lift them up and build their hearts. It's almost as easy as smiling!

Who has been a Barnabas in your life? Leave a comment and tell me about your "son of encouragement."


  1. From Roanne: I try to be an encourager to friends, family and even to strangers at times. It is deeply rewarding to see a sense of peace wash over their face as they gain new hope and insights from the few words and thoughts I might manage to convey. I do not have all the answers, but I have life experience and know what has helped me get through tough times in my own life. I have to be careful, however, not to just give unasked for advice and clich├ęs. I certainly do not know all the details of someone else's plight. Just being a good listener is often a help and a small path to encouragement. Taking their cue, I just try to listen and understand. I try to encourage by drawing out the good points in the situation and not say too much at one time. Hugs, tears and smiles are also helpful when trying to be a good encourager.

  2. Roanne: I really appreciate your comment about the connection between encouraging and being a good listener. The two tend to go hand in hand.