We all need encouragement, don’t we?
As a mom, I know I need it. I can feel worn down many days after trying to school my oldest, working at our little church school, and doing other ministry events. Having someone come along beside you and encourage you can make all the difference in the world.
My husband in a monthly article that he publishes wrote the following about being an encourager:
The Apostle Paul was a great encourager. In 2 Thessalonians Paul was praising or encouraging a troubled church. In 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6, Apostle Paul shows us how to be wise with people and praise; he was wise with his use of encouragement. He was faced with a practical problem: how should we deal with Christians who are doing well in discipleship? If we say “Well Done,” or “at-a-boy,” it borders on flattery, promotes pride and robs God of His glory. If we keep it privately in our prayers and say nothing, that permits discouragement. People desire feedback; they want to know how they are doing. Paul demonstrates the solution to that problem; he thanks God for them, and tells them he is doing so. In this way, he affirms without flattering and encourages without puffing them up. Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul; everyone needs it and people perform better when they get it. Paul understood this, so he tells his friends how much he boasts or brags about them all over the region, “we glory (boast) in you in the churches of God” (v. 4).
Handing out encouragement doesn’t cost much and yet it pays great dividends.
Here are the steps we can follow to encourage people:
- Be personal—Paul told them personally how much he believed in them in v. 3.
- Be pointed—he told them specifically what he appreciated about them in v. 4.
- Be public—he told other churches how much he thought of the Thessalonians in v. 4.
- Be purposeful—he had a goal he was aiming at in their lives: their motivation and vindication in vv. 5-6.
All of us need encouragement—no matter how gifted or self-sufficient you think you are. We need someone to believe in us, to reassure and reinforce us, to help us pick up the pieces and go on after we fall. We need someone to stir us up with increased determination in spite of the odds. Encouragement or praise can be defined as the act of inspiring others with renewed courage, spirit, hope. When we encourage others, we spur them on to new heights and motivate them upward and onward.
Pride keeps us from admitting that we need encouragement. We all have down days; we regularly make dumb decisions that we need to bounce back from. Without daily encouragement our tires get deflated so we feel heavy and we move slowly. It takes more out of us to move forward. Don’t be too proud to admit that you need encouragement—and don’t be too proud to give encouragement either. The beauty of encouragement is that anybody can do it. You don’t need a lot of money to do it. You don’t need a lot of training to do it. There are no age limits to doing it. Sometimes our kids can encourage us without even knowing that they did it. We can all come alongside someone and help them. Let me give you a homework assignment: How would you feel if someone sent a letter to you thanking God for you, boasting of you and telling you that they were praying for you? We could all use this kind of mail.
Your name may not be on the bulletin or you may not be a deacon or teacher, but you have been equipped with spiritual gifts to strengthen the saints. A note with a brief word of encouragement, a phone call to someone in your Sunday school class, lunch with a discouraged parent, a small gift to someone in need—these are discreet but practical and encouraging ways to lift the spirits of sagging saints. Write a letter of encouragement to someone this week.
Be an encourager!
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