The Gift of Barnabas

By Hope Komarynsky and Michelle Martin

Scroll down to find a short video of HopeNet staff discussing their Barnabas.

The name Barnabas means “encourager.” In the book of Acts in the Bible, Barnabas was an Encourager to the Apostle Paul and many of his contemporaries. Who’s your Barnabas? Everyone needs one! Actually, we all need a team of Barnabas people in our lives….especially for the challenging seasons. Seasons like…umm, 2020, 2021 (and it’s not over yet!)? However, a Barnabas is not just for pandemics or the other crisis times. Nope, we need them in every stage of life!

Allow me to introduce you to just a few of my own encouragers. I will change their names, but I imagine they will recognize themselves from their roles in my life.


This particular Barnabas is my personal cheerleader extraordinaire. She loves me…no matter what! She is my strongest supporter, prayer warrior, companion, and soft place to land in every situation. Exhortation and guidance are not what she gives; she just loves me unconditionally.


Allegra is more like a Lieutenant Barnabas. When I need to but don’t particularly want to get a job done, she’s my straight-shooting motivator.

There’s no letting me get away with excuses…or pretty much anything. Convinced of my abilities even when I may not be, Allegra pushes me forward with no pauses until that box is checked. What I love is that she is also a Barnabas who knows how to celebrate. We do not fail to rejoice at the completion of my procrastination projects. Celebrations are an essential ingredient of encouragement.


Tell me how anyone could go through life without a Julia? If there were Master Level “Barnabas” degrees given, Julia would be the Valedictorian. Just call out her name and she’ll be here. Her timing is precise and gracious. No one is better with a follow-up of songs, words and stories of targeted encouragement that create waves of motivation in the right direction. God calls her and her tender prayers to be the wind beneath other’s wings and she upholds that well.

Many others have been sent to be part of my Barnabas team as well. Some for a lifetime and others for only a particular reason or perhaps just a short season. They may be that person that comes forward when I am in a place alone and the unthinkable happens or the one who shares or speaks an unexpected blessing over me just because God told them to and I didn’t even know I needed it. Some Barnabases are just about God’s business of pouring strength, love, empowerment and truth into His people.

Whose Barnabas are YOU? Where or how do you excel as an encourager? Do you wonder what special talents or skills are necessary to qualify? Here’s the truth: there are exactly zero special skills needed! God made every one of us to encourage each other. He calls us to be a Barnabas to those He places in our midst for a lifetime or in our path for a few minutes. It may feel awkward at times and it may not be an area we feel particularly gifted in, but we are all called to be encouragers in our relationships.

  1. We were designed for relationship. It’s the way we were created. Our faith itself is based upon a relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, we’re all relational.
  2. We are told to love each other. Romans 12:10- Be devoted to one another in sisterly love. Honor one another above yourselves. So, we are told to encourage one another. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.
  3. We are to get involved in one another’s lives with the purpose to encourage. Romans 12 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (v. 15) As Christians, we are to strengthen the weak…that’s involvement. Love must be the foundation and motivation for true healing and empowering encouragement.

In 2 Corinthians 1 of The Message, we are told: “(God) ….comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.” This is the silver lining of hardships and trials in life.

In other words, as Stuart Briscoe wrote:

“Things happen to me so that things can happen in me so that things can happen through me.”

Each of our lives writes a story of encouragement to someone. Every challenge, every victory, every insight gained is designed to be shared as encouragement for someone. This is how Barnabas lived a life of lasting impact.

Who are you impacting with your life story? Who has encouraged you with theirs?

Our gift to you:

We asked HopeNet staff to share about Barnabases in their lives. Watch the video below to hear their interesting and personal stories!  You will be encouraged!