Today's Sunday school lesson was about Barnabas, which means "son of consolation." He was given this name by his fellow disciples. What a testimony. The lesson asked what we thought our friends would nickname us based on the character we exhibit. Ouch. I am not sure I want to think about that.
I doubt that anyone who knows me well would wonder if encouragement is my spiritual gift. This is something that I really struggle with. Usually, when I am in a situation where I feel that encouragement is needed, I don't say anything. There are two reasons for this. Insecurity and fear. I just don't feel like I have anything useful to share and even if I did, I don't want to be rejected, especially by someone that I will have to come in contact with on a regular basis.
I am coming to realize that I have bought the lies sold by satan and, in doing so, I am failing to do what God expects of me. It is much easier to excuse my silence when I tell myself that I have nothing to offer because I have never been through what that person is experiencing. Or because I don't know what words to use to help. Or because they might think I am trying to pry into their personal life. Or .... you get the picture. I can find an endless supply of excuses for NOT being an encourager.
But, is this really what God wants from me. Consider Galatians 6:2: "Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." I think that the command is pretty clear here.
God will never be able to use me as an encourager as long as I sit in silence, wrapped up in my own insecurity and fear and refusing to allow the Holy Spirit to work through me. This is not how I want to be known. I don't want those I care about to think that I don't care just because I am afraid. I want to step out on faith and allow God to speak through me and maybe even use me to help someone through a difficult situation.
I want to be a Barnabas.