• Travis Habbershon

Son of Encouragement


With an iced coffee in my hand and a slushie in Haven’s, we headed for a park to take a walk. It was a beautiful sunny day with birds singing and trees dancing in the gentle breeze. I love the great outdoors. Enjoying simple moments with my son, slushies and sunshine, coffee and conversation, fills my soul with joy. Even writing about it now and pondering it afresh brings tears to my eyes. In this light, I now see these sweet moments as monuments that I can revisit and be refreshed by time and time again.


As we were finishing up our walk and heading back to my vehicle, Haven said, “let's take this shortcut” as he marched towards a steep hill. Haven saw a shortcut. Here's what I saw, the rocks, the pebbles, the loose dirt, the steep hill, a future twisted ankle, and a scraped knee. While following behind my adventurous son, aka Bear Grylls junior, I literally said out loud while laughing, “I’m going to fall” to which Haven replied emphatically, “Dad, you gotta have confidence!”


I pressed on and made it to the top with a big smile on my face. Not because of my hill climbing performance, but because of my son's words of encouragement… “Dad, you gotta have confidence!” Having a son is a wonderful blessing. Receiving his encouragement helped me climb the hill.


Many people in life lack confidence. Fear and insecurity hold a lot of people back. Past failures and mistakes paralyze many from future attempts and new endeavors. This is why “encouragers'' are so important. We all need encouragement from time to time in life. In fact, I don’t believe we can truly live without it. Encouragement is like gasoline, it helps us all move forward and the cool thing is… God loves to deliver this great gift through people.


There’s a man in the Bible whose name was Joseph, but he was given the nickname Barnabas. Check this out:


Acts 4:36-37 NLT “For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles.”


Acts 11:22-24 NLT “When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw this evidence of God’s blessing, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And many people were brought to the Lord.”


Question: what nickname would those closest to you give you…?


Initially, Joseph was simply Joseph, but then as others witnessed how Joseph lived, that he was a sacrificial giver who cared about others, he got the nickname son of encouragement.

Back in my teenage skateboarding days, I was given the nickname “T-Bird” because when I would go to ollie or kickflip my hands would extend like a bird's wings in flight. This nickname caught on to the point that even some of my school teachers called me T-Bird.


My skateboarding posture got my friends to call me T-Bird.


Haven's - shortcut finding, hill climbing fearlessness - got me to see him as Bear Grylls Jr.


Joseph's lifestyle of service got his friends to call him Barnabas (son of encouragement.)


How we live is how we will be identified by others. Nicknames can be funny, but they can also contain great truth.


Do you have a nickname…?


I hope it’s not Grumpy or Angry or Selfish or Liar or Shady.


If it is something like that currently, don’t feel bad. Get honest with yourself. Change is possible. You can go from Grumpy to Grateful. From Angry to Amazing. From Selfish to Selfless. From Liar to Lover. From Shady to Sincerity.


I believe in all my heart, what the world needs right now is for the Barnabas’s to arise. The world needs sons and daughters of encouragement. The storms of the last few years have devastated many. Many have been beaten down. Many are walking around with a broken heart. Many have been robbed of their confidence. Many are still stuck at the bottom of a hill, waiting on a voice of encouragement to help them move forward. Encouragement right now is more than a nice thing to do, it’s a literal lifeline.


Now, to close out this blog, I want to leave you with a final statement to ponder… (Read it a few times slowly)


Joseph gave his life to Jesus and then became known as a son of encouragement.


How are you known…?

Written by Travis Habbershon