Let me ask you a question? What has the power to…
- Transform a rotten day into a good day?
- Change a bad mood into a good mood?
- Change an attitude of worthlessness into an attitude of appreciation and even importance?
- Transform a spirit of defeat into a spirit of energy and hope for what the future holds?
- Turn a tired and exhausted group into an unbeatable and impenetrable team?
And I’m not talking about moments like…
- Winning the lottery,
- Or changing the government,
- Or finally having the kids move out so you can have the house and the bathroom to yourself,
- Or getting that promotion, or earning that degree, or finally landing that contract.
Even though all of those would be nice, I’m talking about something far simpler.
What I’m talking about is something that everyone of us is capable of doing.
- We don’t have to pay for it,
- We don’t need special training,
- We don’t need to wait for the right time of day,
- Or even for the perfect moment.
But it is something that I believe is one of the most neglected tools that God has given us.
Do you know what it is? ENCOURAGEMENT
There are approximately 100 biblical passages that talk about encouragement. And there are more than 30 “one another” passages in the New Testament alone. These “one another” passages are also passages of encouragement
- Love one another (John 13:35; Rom 13:8)
- Guard one another (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 16:13)
- Help one another (1 Cor 12:7; Eph 4:16)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16; 2 Cor 9:14)
- Warn one another (Her 3:13; 1 Thess 5:14)
In Hebrew the word encourage is related to strength. So it means to strengthen someone or to carry them along. In Greek the word means to come alongside of, to admonish, and exhort.
The English word – en-courage, means to put courage into something. And here is one of the reasons why encouragement is so important.
Encouragement is sometimes the only thing keeping us from falling apart
There are those of you who are struggling – and you need the courage to go on. You need someone who can be the physical representation of a loving God to come along side and help carry you through it. To give you the courage needed to take the next step.
We all know what it’s like to have someone in our lives who can give us the strength to keep going just by being present. They build us up when everyone else seems to tear us down and carry us when all we want to do is lie down and quit.
One powerful example is seen in a man named Barnabas. He is introduced to us in Acts 4:36.
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. (Acts 4:36 NLT)
If you asked people what was Barnabas’ real name you would likely draw mostly blanks. Why, because he was known by his nickname and not his given name of Joseph. Imagine having the ability to encourage others in such a way that it becomes the prominent characteristic that identifies you. So much so, that it becomes the name you are known by.
This is also the same man who became the sidekick of the apostle Paul. A man whom God used mightily to bring the Gospel to the world and suffered much in doing so. I happen to think that God intentionally put Barnabas with Paul, to lift him up and help strengthen him when the persecutions and attacks were overwhelming.
We could all use a Barnabas. That one person, who, when everything seems to be against you, can motivate you to keep going, keep trying, and reassure you that everything is going to be alright.
Encouragement is powerful. It can prevent apathy, even spiritual apathy. It can transform a heart that feels discouraged and hopeless. I think of all the people you should have in your life, the Encourager is one of the most vital, if not the most.
Lastly, why not take the time to be an Encourager? It’s one of the easiest things to do and the rewards are beyond measure. Imagine, you could make the difference for someone today.
“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you.”
(William Arthur Ward)