Names have meaning and whether your parents knew it or not, you may have been named after something or some trait or some past family lineage or trade. My source is the site, behindthename.com, which, if you click on it, will tell you the meaning of your name. You just might be surprised. Michelle is one of my favorite writers at another website I write for. She has been such an encouragement to me, so I looked up her name and I was not at all surprised. It is of Hebrew origin and it means “Who resembles God?” or basically, who is like God? This reflects her nature to me? She has been a God-send to me and many others as well. So has Ruth, which is spot on for this lady as her name means “friend”. Also the name Michael, which means “who is like God?” or literally could be interpreted, “ a messenger of God”. The thing that is interesting to me is that many of my friends live up to their name‘s meaning.
Barnabas was actually born as Joseph, which is Hebrew and means “God will increase”. Interestingly the name Barnabas means “Son of consolation.” So literally, Barnabas Joseph could be translated the “Son of consolation, God will increase.” Interestingly, in Aramaic, Barnabas’ name means “having a genius for encouragement.” I love it. That is spot on the mark for Barnabas. My name Jack is derivative of John which is also Hebrew, but Jack in Hebrew is linked to Jacob, which means “To supplant” or “To track or follow.” So, altogether, it could mean “To track or to follow God’s grace.” This encourages me that I am on the right track. To be positive and uplifting to others. Not that I might agree with everything everyone says, but I can always find something positive in just about everything and everyone.
Proverbs 25:11 says that, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” This verse reminds me of Barnabas. He was truly a man of encouragement. I would like to think that anyone that knows me knows that I don’t like to criticize, but conversely, I like to be positive and complimentary to people. I love what the late evangelist Adrian Rogers liked to call the Three E’s: Encourage, Exhort, and Edify. If I can’t say anything positive, let me say nothing at all.
Next to Jesus, my favorite biblical character is probably Barnabas. Let me explain why. He always gave people the benefit of the doubt, like when John Mark wanted to go with Paul and Barnabas, Paul did not want him to. Since Mark gave up on one of the missions and went back home, Paul didn’t trust him, but Barnabas was willing to given Mark a chance. They ended up going in different directions, but Barnabas never gave up on Mark and Mark become a powerful force in the early church, in fact writing the Book of Mark, one of the synoptic Gospels and later was mentored by Peter, the chief Apostle of the church.
Barnabas was also a Jew and a Levite, but he also had a wealth of real estate. When the church needed funds, Barnabas sold it all and gave up his entire wealth, to help the early church. Now that’s a man of encouragement all right.
When people gossip or talk negatively at work about someone else, I try to deflect this negativity and respond with humor. I say, “Hey, their job is very difficult. They can do a lot of things that I can not do, that’s for sure.” Instead of criticizing them I suggest that they “try to walk a mile in their shoes. That way, they’re a mile away…and you got their shoes!” LOL Humor is always a positive way to redirect negative comments, even if it to my own hurt. I would rather take the “slings and arrows” than someone I know. I can take it, but to talk about someone who is not there, is not only impolite, but it’s like throwing them under the bus while they’re not even there.
And that’s the way I want it. To be the encourager always and to always see the best in everyone and every situation. To be the Barnabas. The three writers I mentioned live up to their name. Their name fits their character perfectly. But what about your name? Check it out. Just click on the website Behind The Name, and you can see if you are aptly described. Make sure and check your middle name too. You might be in for a surprise.