Here's a great look at the life of Barnabas—with a few lessons on how we might be more encouraging in the way we interact with others. For another great sermon on Barnabas, be sure to check out John Ortberg's "Balcony People."
The king of the comics, as far as I'm concerned, is still Peanuts by Charles Schulz. I love Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Pigpen, the Little Red-Haired Girl, and Charlie Brown. There's a ring of reality to their relationships. One sequence in particular comes to mind. Linus has just written a comic strip of his own, and he wants Lucy's opinion. In the first frame, he tentatively hands Lucy his comic strip and says, "Lucy, would you read this and tell me if you think it is funny?" In the next frame, you see Lucy patting her foot, and a little bit of a grin comes across her face. She looks at Linus and says, "Well, Linus, who wrote this?" Linus, with his chest heaved out and a great big grin, says, "Lucy, I wrote that." In the next frame, you see Lucy wadding it up, throwing it to the side, and saying, "Well, then, I don't think it's very funny." In the final frame, Linus picks up his comic strip, throws his blanket over his shoulder, looks at Lucy, and says, "Big sisters are the crabgrass in the lawn of life." We find that humorous. But I dare say if you and I thought long and hard enough, we'd remember being the crabgrass in the lawn of somebody else's life.
None of us wants to be a loser. None of us wants to be a source of discouragement. And yet, if we're not careful, we can find ourselves being more pessimistic than optimistic, more discouraging than encouraging. Encouragement is vital for life and for relationships. Encouragement is like a cool breeze on a hot summer day—it revives ...
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Rod Cooper is Kenneth and Jean Hansen Professor of Discipleship and Leadership Development at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and author of Holman New Testament Commentary: Mark (Volume 2) (B H Publishing, 2001).