Therefore encourage one another and build up one another...1 Thessalonians 5:11
...encourage the fainthearted...1 Thessalonians 5:14
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6:10
When it comes to ministry and "making a difference" in the lives of other people, the significance and importance of little things are often overlooked. One area I see a great need for is encouragement. It's obvious, when you look around. People are prone to discouragement. Life throws enough at us, so why, as believers, aren't we taking better care of each other? Self-centeredness is one reason. I'm quick to notice my own problems and needs, but slow to see when someone else could use something as simple as a smile or encouraging word. J.R Miller displays the contrast between being encouraging or discouraging beautifully:
They air all their griefs. They have a volume of lamentations to pour into your ears. Ask their counsel in any matter of your own or speak to them of any plan of yours, and they will shake their heads and point out to you every unfavorable aspect of it. They seem to live to discourage others, to quench hope, to repress ardor and enthusiasm, to pour darkness into bright lives...To meet them in the morning is to have a day of depression.
On the other hand, there are those who live to give cheer and encouragement...They seek to remove difficulties, to open paths, to inspire fresh courage, to make you stronger, and to add to your determination to succeed...You always go out from a few minutes talk with them with new impulses stirring in your breast, with lighter step, brighter face, deeper joy, and with the assurance of victory thrilling in your soul.
Isn't that second paragraph an inspiring example? I've been around people like that, and their influence runs deeper then they'll probably ever know.
Do you have an example of a time that you were encouraged by something small?
Any practical ideas for how we can be a godly, encouraging influence in each other's lives?