Have you ever wanted to do something “significant”? There is a very simple way you can touch people’s life: become an encourager. Become a person who adds hope to the hopeless. Courage to the weak-hearted. Add confidence to those who are full of self-doubt and support to those who need a hand at their back. This gift, when freely given out of love and care, yields so much fruit. I encourage you to look for the struggling ones and encourage them, but also for those who are working hard to do well. Everyone can use encouragement.
I Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up. Paul gave this exhortation to each one of us! Not one person is exempt, but it is also something we can all do. If you can speak, you can encourage!
One thing I have had to do lately is navigate helping Shield of Faith Ministries after my friend Bill, the president, passed. This led me to deal with some lawyers in figuring out what all needs to be done. As I was talking with them on Monday, I was also carrying the heavy situation of my brother-in-law, who suffered a massive stroke and was in his last hours. I could tell I was distracted during the conversation, so I finally mentioned it to them. The chief lawyer, Sidney, confessed to me that his wife had passed in December. I knew the other lawyer had lost his brother-in-law just a few weeks before. So we just encouraged ourselves with the fact we all understood grief. Ruben, the other lawyer, did not leave it there. He texted me encouraging words this morning. I responded, and then he called. The Holy Spirit led him to call and share some scripture and his story. We don’t even know each other—but God stepped in and through him, strengthened me. He didn’t have to make the call, but he went out of his way to do so.
But the back story to his phone call, was a group of ladies (my life group) praying for me last night, asking God for help and encouragement. I reached out to my daughter this morning, and as she was in the midst in the middle of praying for me, Ruben called. I had called out to the Lord, help me please, and He sent people to encourage me. I opened the gift of encouragement they gave! Sometimes in our own times of hopelessness, self-doubt or weakness we struggle to receive his encouragement. We must be open to surrounding encouragers, for they are there.
I will honestly admit sometimes others have tried to “encourage” me, but in my pride, my hurt or misunderstanding, I did not let it touch my heart. God sent them, but I kept the gift closed. Then felt sorry for myself that I didn’t have encouragement! How silly, it took the Holy Spirit’s grace to show me where I was wrong. One time, I actually asked the Lord to show me my expectations, and I realized they were not realistic! As I prayed, He gently realigned my expectations for encouragement.
The gift of encouragement comes alongside to bring strength, hope and confidence that you can accomplish the task at hand. It does not take over and do it for you. Friends, let us determine to both give and receive encouragement.
Father, I thank you for the gift of encouragement. I ask you to help us, as we learn to be encouragers. I ask you to help us receive encouragement, even if it is not exactly like we think we need. I thank you for the Holy Spirit working your encouragement through your Word and through your body so we can be strong in your ways. I speak against discouragement in any shape or form, and release hope, strength and confidence in you and yours ways. In Jesus’ Name, amen.