Encouragement is an art form.
Marvel comic book heroes are all the rage right now. They have spilled out of the comic book pages and are all over the silver screen and TV as well. It got me thinking. What is your spiritual super power?
In college there was a student, Harry was his name, who excelled in the art of encouragement. Friends of Harry’s were sure to receive little notes tucked away in sure-to-find places and know–viscerally know–that God and Harry could be counted on to believe in them. I have a number of friends who excel in encouragement through the ministry of prayer, others through the ministry of visits, others through the ministry of cookies, and still others with pats on the back, and telephone calls, and text messages. It’s an art and unfortunately too few of us practice it.
We love to receive it. We don’t give it as often as we should. Sometimes we hold back when we know the Spirit of God wants us to speak a word that would refresh.
Years ago, back in the dark ages, I ran across this simple quote:
“Men live by encouragement
and without it,
slowly, sadly, and angrily.”
I didn’t remember it perfectly. I thought the last word was “alone.” I didn’t remember who said it. I just remembered the quote and how it hit me then and continues to hit me today. It has the unmistakable ring of truth about it. So does this next one.
“I think eulogies are wasted on the dead. It’s the living who need to hear kind words spoken about them.”
Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE.
I’m not sure that encouragement is my super power.
But I want it to be.
And the Scripture does more than encourage me in that pursuit.
It commands me.
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Hebrews 3:13 (NASB95)
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
Answer: Pray, Obey, Repeat (until the process becomes second nature).
Some Guiding Thoughts:
- After you have prayed
- Look for simple ways to encourage EVERYONE who crosses your path.
(Cf. Proverbs 15:23)
- Expect nothing in return.
- Be creative.
- Keep asking God to make encouragement your super power.
Things that Encourage:
- Being included
- Being appreciated
- Receiving notes of appreciation, thank you, hope, etc.
- Being respected
- Being given opportunity
- Being believed or believed in
- Being hugged (for some)