Despite their previous plans, they all chose to stay so they could learn, so they could grow, so they could mature before they went off on their own to spread the word in a world of sin, a world, they were told, that would reject them more often than accept them. It wasn’t long till the practical needs of several thousand homeless people with no income could no longer be ignored.
Those who lived in the city helped as much as they could. They took people in and collected funds to buy extra food and clothing. Men were chosen to see to these needs. Joseph helped as well, selling off extra property he owned, and donating the full amount to the group.
But that was not all he did. Here was a man who excelled at encouragement, consolation, exhortation. He was the first to give a pat on the back when it was needed, a hug, a kind word, a stern word, a teaching word, a “rah-rah” from the sidelines, a second chance to those whom others had given up on. In fact, he became so good at it that the apostles gave him the nickname, “son of encouragement/consolation/exhortation,” whatever your version says in Acts 4:36. And forever more in the scriptures, that is how we know him—Barnabas. Did you even know that was not his real name?
Whenever I think of that man, I wonder what nickname the apostles would give me? Whiny Winnie? Gossip Gail? My-Way Marian? Grumpy Gert? Cold-hearted Catherine? Hotheaded Harriet? Wondering about that will give your character a real shot in the arm. I’d much rather have something like Generous Joyce or Compassionate Kate.
Your assignment for today? Try to figure out what they would call you. Be honest. You can always change that name, just by changing yourself.
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold, Prov 22:1.