Everyone needs encouragement, usually more than a few times. In my parents’ day, encouraging was seen as “coddling”. Words of affirmation could spoil the child or make them think too highly of themselves. So, encouragement was mostly absent. Nonsense.
The Bible instructs, clearly, that we are to BE encouragers, not just do encouraging.
I Thessalonians 5:14, “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.” I Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
So, how can I become a Biblical encourager? Acts Chapter 4 speaks of a Levite from Cyprus, called Joseph. He was an early apostle and missionary partner of Paul. The apostle Paul nicknamed him “Barnabas”, which means, “son of encouragement” and he lived up to that moniker. Looking at his life reveals some points to consider.
- BE PRACTICAL – Barnabas sold his land because the fledgling church needed the proceeds. I bet they were encouraged!
- TAKE RISKS – Barnabas was the one who brought Paul to the apostles in Jerusalem and spoke in his behalf, convincing them that Paul’s conversion was real and he was no longer a persecutor of the church. Sometimes those who need encouragement are life’s “throw aways”, the unlovely, the rebellious and the difficult. Be brave and encourage with a resolute heart.
- BE READY – Sometimes opportunities to encourage are not planned. “Proclaim the message. Be ready to do this whether or not it is convenient. Rebuke, correct and encourage with great patience and teaching.” (II Timothy 4:2) God’s words and his promises must be IN us to flow OUT of us.
- BE OTHERS-ORIENTED – In Acts II, Peter states that a great many people were added to the Lord because of the missionary work of Barnabas. He made deliberate encounters in order to encourage others and thus revealed Jesus’ power to forgive and transform. Encouragement can be a powerful and effective vehicle of evangelism.
It’s also a needed discipline in the Body of Christ. We need each other and we need encouragement sometimes. I sure have. Words of simple affirmation have lifted my spirt and brightened a day.
Receiving encouragement is wonderful – giving it is even better.
~ Vickie Richey
Christ Fellowship member