Until recently, I only knew that in the early days of the church, he sold a field and gave the money away. After hearing a sermon from Dr. Jonathan Murphy, I realized Barnabas had a lot to teach me about generous living.
A life marked by kindness
Barnabas was originally named Joseph from Cyprus. Acts 4:36 tells us that the apostles nicknamed him based on the words he spoke, calling him Barnabas meaning “Son of Encouragement.” That’s an amazing testament to the way he lived.
I imagine the people around Barnabas had conversations like this:
“Did you hear Barnabas the other day? I was discouraged about my parenting and he affirmed the things I was doing right.”
“Well, I had given up on my situation at work and Barnabas helped me see that God made me for a unique purpose and how I might use that purpose to improve my situation.”
“Mine is even better! I had been sick so long that I was giving up. Barnabas came alongside me and was with me every step of the way.”
Apparently Barnabas daily speech was full of kindness and generosity. He demonstrated who God is through his words.
What about my generous words?
I like to think I’m generous with my words (my husband would say that I use every one of my allotted 20,000 words per day!) but the truth is that my speech is kind and generous only when I’m intentional and have margin. If either of those two elements is missing, beware! When I’m rushing to the airport to catch a flight or stressed preparing for guests, my generous words go out the window. In fact, if my friends gave me a nickname based on my words, it could be “Daughter of Busy” or “Daughter of Hurry.” What would yours be?
Dr. Murphy proposed that the root of generous, kind words is gratitude. He said, “The level of generosity you exhibit is testimony to the extent of your gratitude.” Ouch! When I’m busy and hurrying do I stop to be grateful I have a home to entertain in or that the driver is delivering me safely to the airport?
I want to live generously in every aspect of my life. I want to grow in generosity not only with my money but also with my words. I’m committed to daily practicing generous living. I’m starting the journey by asking God to prompt me to be grateful and to share those grateful thoughts with the people around me.
Who is one person you might share generous words with today?