10/14/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
It was around 5:30 AM yesterday and I had just posted my “Tuesday’s Take” on Trust, and within seconds I received this private message on Facebook…
“Great message! I’m about to call my boss and turn in my resignation! That message was just for this occasion! Well, not just mine! But fits so well! Got to call him! God is So faithful to us!”
What an encouragement it was to this pastor. At that moment I was reminded of a verse: “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
I wasn’t looking for encouragement. I wasn’t looking for anything! However when my friend was refreshed, he in turn, refreshed me.
When is a word of encouragement inappropriate? Never! That is why Paul tells the church of the Thessalonians…
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up”1 Thessalonians 5:11
When my oldest son Jamie was in high school he was required to sing in chorus. Everyone in our family knew that Jamie couldn’t sing, and if you ever sat with him in church, you would have known it too. Now Judy and I were not exactly sure how this was going to turn out. One day Jamie came home quite excited and said to us, “Mr. Bowman talked to me today and he said that they could really use me in the sound booth.”
See? A word of encouragement can change everything.
His parents called him Joseph, but his friends called him “encouragement”
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement) …Acts 4:36
Do your friends see you as an encourager or a complainer? When people see you coming, do they expect to receive a word of encouragement or a word of negativity? Do they feel refreshed or depleted when you leave?
Here is a test that I “stole” from Ray Pritchard called E.Q. or your Encouragement Quotient. Answer these 10 questions honestly, as it may help you see yourselves as others see you.
1. Do my words of encouragement outweigh my words of criticism?
2. Am I uplifting to be around?
3. Do words of praise come easily to me?
4. Would those who know me best consider me an encouraging person?
5. Do I pass along good news and swallow the gossip?
6. Would I rather give praise or receive praise?
7. Do I focus on the positive qualities of other people?
8. Can you think of someone who needs encouragement right now?
9. Do I pray for the difficult people in my life?
10. Have I been diligent to encourage those closest to me—my children, my spouse, my students, my co-workers, my close friends?
If you answered “yes” to eight or more, you are probably an encouraging person. If you answered “yes” to seven or less, then you may come across (as my good friend Paul Bubar used to say) “As someone who looks like they have been baptized in pickle juice!”
A couple of suggestions if you tend not to be an encourager, but a discourager. Make a point to start your day by encouraging one person. It can either be someone in your home, at work, or on social media. It only takes a moment to like a post on Facebook, or to write a word of encouragement with people who share their hearts.
Look at things positively. Instead of telling my oldest son he was a terrible singer, his headmaster told him that he was needed in the sound booth, something he could do and do well.
Pray! It only takes a moment. Before you complain to others about how God made you, or what God has allowed to come into your life, or before you say a word of criticism about the person you are about to talk to, or about someone else, pray. I know from personal experience, there were things that I wished I had never said, but there has never been a time when I wished that I had not prayed.
Be proactive! Don’t wait for someone to encourage you; find someone to encourage! When my friend wrote me that text yesterday, he had no idea what an encouragement it was going to be. And if you are one that doesn’t do social media much, do it the old fashioned way: write a note, buy a card, or even pick up the phone and call.
In these days, as the world seems to be spinning out of control, as fear grows regarding who will be our next president, as another shutdown looms on the horizon, as pressures pile up and nerves get frayed; choose to be an encourager, as a kind word or even a smile can change someone’s day, and I have even seen it change a life.
How important it is to be an encourager?
“I can live for a week off one good compliment.”Mark Twain
“Encouragement is the oxygen of the soul.”George Adams
“Encouragers see potential where others see problems.”David Jeremiah
Don’t live with regret like the great British Bible teacher F. B. Meyer who said, “If I had my life over again, I would devote much more time to the ministry of comfort and encouragement.”
If someone calls you “Barnabas” today, take it as a badge of honor. If no one has thanked you recently for being an encourager, then start being obedient and “Just do it.”