Barnabas means son of consolation. This great saint likely would have been the first to console someone feeling down or show trust in the untrustworthy.
I believe that Barnabas would be the perfect church greeter. His name literally means “son of consolation.” When you think of the word consolation, you might think about it being second best like a “consolation prize”, but this is not what it means. Consolation means one who is a comforter or a person that consoles. A consoler is the type of person that would make anyone at home. Now who wouldn’t want a Barnabas to be the first one to welcome people in their church? First impressions are usually lasting ones. I believe that Barnabas would have been the first one to welcome a new church member or family, the first one to reach out to that person sitting all alone in the back pew or the first person to console someone who seems a little down.
You might remember that Barnabas was the man who gave Saul-turned Paul the benefit of the doubt when he introduced him to the church. When members of the church were afraid of Paul’s history – one of persecuting and terrorizing Christians – Barnabas saw something in Paul that no one else did. He and Paul became missionaries and more than that, they became brothers in Christ. Paul would need someone like Barnabas who was genuinely sincere, trusting, and an encourager. Paul wrote about love and perhaps he was thinking of Barnabas when He wrote that love believes all things. The way I take this is that love gives people the benefit of the doubt, it believes the best about people, and it doesn’t jump to conclusions. The next time someone needs some consoling, be the Barnabas. Today more than ever, the world needs a son or daughter of consolation.
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Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. —First Corinthians 13:7 (ESV)