Barnabas Birthday

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

Recent research has shown how important compliments, positive affirmations, and encouragement are to students. They resonate with it. Studies have found that they will choose a compliment over their favorite foods, money, or even sex.

The lead researcher on this project, Brad Bushman, says, “The desire to feel worthy and valuable trumps almost any other pleasant activity you can imagine.” Research is now showing what the Bible has always been teaching!

The University of Michigan students were a part of the study. They had an opportunity to choose among several pleasurable activities such as eating their favorite foods, receiving a paycheck, sex, getting a good grade, or being given a nice compliment. Their overwhelming choice was the compliment.

The research also indicated that people who receive compliments and encouragement helps lead them to better learning, relationships, growth, and self esteem.

Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (I Thessalonians 5:11 NLT)

The Book of Hebrews reminds us that sometimes evil can become so prevalent that people can begin falling away from the living God. Hebrews 3:13 (CEV) answers this challenge by saying, “Instead, encourage each other every day, as long as it’s called ‘ today,’ so that none of you become insensitive to God because of sin’s deception.”

The writer of Hebrews also talks about a new way to live when Christ is at the center of our lives. He says, “Let’s also think about how to motivate each other to show love and to do good works. Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews10:24, 25 CEV)

One of my favorite characters in the New Testament is Barnabas. His name means “encourager.” He was relatively unknown in his early life, but when his passion to encourage people really kicked in, he became a significant and respected leader in the early church.

I believe one of the great ministries of life is to encourage other people. I love to be around people who are encouragers. Most of us respond far more quickly and productively to encouragement than devastating criticism. One of the best things we can do for each other each day is to give encouragement! Be a Barnabas!

To be referred to as a Barnabas is a high compliment. Maybe a new Barnabas will be born today. That would make this a Barnabas birthday!

Happy Birthday, Barnabas!

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