I'm still reading "11", Lord. Leonard Sweet says we all need a Barnabas. Actually, he describes 5 different Barnabas-people. But the common thread that runs through all 5 of them is encouragement. A Barnabas is an encourager.
You know, Lord, I believe that has been Your call for my life since I accepted Christ 40 years ago. I love to encourage others. I get a kick out it-especially being an anonymous encourager.
One of the things Sweet points out is that we need to be "shallow" encouragers on a daily basis. He says "we should not forget the importance of the shallow-the smile, the wink, the hand squeeze, the slap on the back, the kiss on the cheek. The shallow is a beginning for us all, dipping our toes at the shallow end of the pool, preparing for deeper waters." (page 101)
He says we all need people in our lives who do "shallow" well. There's much to be said for courteous, encouraging small talk. Lord, I want every conversation I have with others, every contact I have with them, to leave them encouraged.
I loathe being sucked into negative conversation. It siphons the joy right out of me. I want to stand on a chair and shout, "Quit your whining and complaining! Look around and appreciate what you HAVE instead of complaining about what you don't have!"
Sweet says that "Every depth has a surface, and when you live deeply, [love deeply, I would add] you still need surface people in your life." (page 101) Sometimes Barnabas people can be surface people. People who brighten your day. People who make you glad you stepped onto THAT elevator or chose THAT fast food drive-through.
I want deep relationships, transparent relationships, Lord. But I also want to be that dab of brightness that adds joy to other people's day. I want to be a quick glimpse of Jesus to those people whom I contact for a mere second.
I want to be genuinely, sincerely encouraging to strangers, Lord. Help me to be a shallow Barnabas for everyone I contact.
There is so much to complain about in your world, Little One. Really, there is: evil, fear, death, cruelty, unfairness, injustice, bad-hair days. (grin; wink)
But does it do any good to spend your life complaining? Does it do any good to spend your days stumbling though a dark cloud?
Look beyond the clouds, Little One. Behind them the SON is shining. The gloom cannot extinguish My Light. Remember that all of your days, and share the joy it brings you with every person who brushes past your life.
Splash them with my SONshine today.