Here we have a new follower of Jesus introduced to us: Joseph of Cyprus. We know a few things about him:
1. He is a Jew of the family of Levite . This makes him a member of a family that includes Moses, Aaron, Samuel, Ezekiel and Malachi. The descendents of this family were designated as the priestly class. Deuteronomy 18:2 tells us that when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan, the Levites were not given land because they were to trust God for their sustenance: “the LORD is their inheritance”.
2. He comes from a Greek island, that had been taken over by the Romans in 58BC.
3. He has been given a nickname by the apostles: “Barnabas”. The Aramaic of this is בר נביא, bar naḇyā, meaning 'the son (of the) prophet'. However, the Greek text of the passage quoted above explains the name as υἱός παρακλήσεως, hyios paraklēseōs, meaning "son of consolation" or "son of encouragement".
Joseph is given the name Barnabas, because people recognised a quality of generosity in his life. He gives away his inheritance. Here was a Levite who was willing to return to his roots and trust God for his inheritance.
If the people around you, or me, were to name us for our reputation – what do you think we would be called? Would “generous”,” kind” or “compassionate” come to mind? Let us be challenged to grow a reputation for being people like Jesus.
“Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what the reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character.” ― Wayne W. Dyer
Pentecost29 The Church of the Spirit
Scripture reading taken from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants p.184