The Power of Encouragement
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."1
The word encourage (en=in+courage) simply means to put courage into another—something we all need to do and receive regularly.
Years ago—when I was a young teenager—one of the men in our church gave me a light manly punch on my arm and gave me a compliment about my football game as I passed by him.
I've never forgotten that compliment which to me was a big encouragement when I needed it. Some years later I recall how in my beginning days of ministry, after speaking to a youth group, one of the members in attendance said to me, "Thank you for being God's messenger to me today." I've never forgotten her words and those of many others along the way either. (Sadly, a cutting word can have the opposite long-term effect.)
Encouragement. So easy to give, costs nothing, and is worth its weight in gold.
As Leo Buscaglia said, "The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parade for us, no monuments created in our honor. But that does not lessen our possible impact, for there are scores of people waiting for someone just like us to come along; people who will appreciate our compassion, our unique talents. Someone who will live a happier life merely because we took the time to share what we had to give. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have a potential to turn a life around. It's overwhelming to consider the continuous opportunities there are to make our love felt."2
Be sure to encourage—to put courage into—someone today, especially your own loved ones.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you for all the people who have encouraged me along the way. They are greatly appreciated. And please help me to be an encourager to someone else every single day just as others have encouraged me. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
2. Leo Buscaglia, cited in Inspirational Peak! http://www.inspirationpeak.com.