Son of Encouragement

Today is the feast of St. Barnabas, whose name, according to Acts 4:36, means “Son of Encouragement” or “Son of Consolation.”

Being the nerd I am, I looked up the Greek. The word used is παράκλησις – paraklesis, which is related to Paraclete – the name we give to the Holy Spirit.

Paraklesis is also the word used repeatedly in 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7, a passage which I love, because I see it as a call for real solidarity:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our afflictions, so we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God. For, just as the sufferings of Christ overflow in us, so also our consolation overflows through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation; if we are being consoled, it is for your consolation which is at work in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is well-founded, for we know that as you in community with us in our sufferings, so too are you in our consolation.

Re-read the passage, substituting encouragement for consolation.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all encouragement, who encourages us in all our afflictions, so we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For, just as the sufferings of Christ overflow in us, so also our encouragement overflows through Christ. If we are being afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are being encouraged, it is for your encouragement which is at work in your patient endurance of the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is well-founded, for we know that as you in community with us in our sufferings, so too are you in our encouragement.

True consolation is encouragement, calling us forward, moving us out of the afflictions that keep us discouraged and focused on ourselves.

If his name is true, Barnabas was a person who encouraged others.

So many people I minister with here in Honduras are in need of encouragement, the word that helps them move on. All too often they are made to feel useless which takes the courage out of them. And so to encourage them is a way to show God’s presence among them.

I don’t think that’s the case only here in Honduras – though it is much more visible.

How many of us need a consolation that is really encouragement.

May we experience the encouragement of God – and encourage others.

 

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One response to “Son of Encouragement

  1. danielimburgia

    I just want to say how much I appreciate your blog. Blessings and much obliged.

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