There is a little something that we may in the midst of living our lives forget. It’s that people are watching and listening as they walk alongside us. People want someone to look up to, someone to encourage, inspire, and make them feel like their hopes, dreams and aspirations are possible.
There is a man in the bible called Barnabas who was a prominent early church leader who was nicknamed Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:37). He had this name because he was known to seek out and assist others.
Barnabas was an encourager. It was who he was, how he lived, and it made a difference. When other individuals ran a bit against the mainstream Barnabas instead of ostracizing them, deliberately went out of his way to meet and listen to them, welcoming them warmly. Because of that Barnabas became known and loved as one who encouraged, inspired and came alongside others. No doubt he changed the way people thought and acted in their own lives, and towards others. He was just one of those people others wanted to emulate. (You’ll find part of his story in Acts 9:26-27)
Barnabas life clearly demonstrates the power of being someone who encourages others. The character traits of Barnabas—his goodness, faith, big heartedness, courage, generosity, humbleness, self-sacrifice, open-mindedness, boldness and the fact the he was full of the Holy Spirit—impacted all those he met.
Imagine how different the world would be if we all chose to encourage, come alongside and build one another up like Barnabas did? That every time we had a conversation with others it turned into an encouragement session.
The bible exhorts us, “Therefore encourage one another, and build one another up, just as you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Unfortunately we have been sold the lie that if we encourage and exhort people too much they will “get a big head” so we need to bring people down, as we say in Australia “a peg or two”. No tall poppies here, and if you start to succeed or begin to rise to the top we will look for ways to cut you down to size.
But that is not heaven’s way. That thinking is the world’s system and it really has no place in our lives. People suffer enough hard knocks in life without us adding to their struggles.
Encouragement is the gift. It is a genuine boost of hope and faith. Think about the last great idea you had, or the last big decision you needed to make. Who did you most want to call for support and solutions? Was it an encourager? That special someone who built you up, who listened, who had some wise words and who stood with you.
We can all be THAT person that others call to encourage them. The person who builds up and inspires. Yes, there might be work to be done. But being an encourager reminds others when and where it CAN be done.
Often the one thing that releases and enables people to follow their God given purpose in life is the simple gift of offering encouragement.
So here are some thoughts on how to encourage others:
Encourage them that God is for them and not against them, and that with Him all things are possible. Believe in, and with them for God to do great things in their life.
Tell people what you appreciate, respect, like, and enjoy about them. Thank them for ways they inspire you. Point out the good qualities they have.
Highlight how you see God working in their life. Tell them how you can see they have grown over the last six months, year or five years.
Point out any ways they encourage you. “Thank you for sharing that with me today. It really helped me.”
Tell them you are praying for them – and be sure to do that.
Appreciate and thank people for any ways they bless or encourage you. Encourage people such as the waitress who gives you your meal or coffee; your family, workmates etc. Commend them for a job well done.
Encourage people for any effort you see them making in the right direction.
Encourage people not to give up. To keep believing, and seeking after all that God has for their lives. To not grow weary in doing good.
Encourage them in any gifts or talents they have. Thank them for any way these gifts have blessed and inspired you.
An important thing to mention is that encouragers also need to steer people away from the wrong path, as well as steering them towards living well and walking with Jesus. If we’re aware that a person we’re seeking to encourage is going down a path that conflicts with God’s best, then being an encourager also means doing our best to discourage them from continuing in that direction.
Begin right now and encourage someone today. Plan to catch up with someone, and take the time to listen and encourage them. Send someone a note, a text, or email and let them know you are thinking of them. “Great job!” is sometimes all we need to say.
Let your children know why you’re glad they are your children.
Husbands, thank your wives for anything and everything they do for you.
Wives encourage and build up your husband; value and share their dreams.
Today pray and ask God to show you, even if it’s just a smile, word or small gift, where you can encourage someone today.
Prayer: Lord thank you that you are the great encourager and that you plan only the best for me. Help me to be an encourager and someone with whom others share their hopes ad dreams with because they know I will be an encouragement to them. Heal me of any hurts, and fill me with your words of hope and life. In Jesus Name Amen.