13.8.08

The Ministry of Encouragement

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:

The discouraging:
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.

The encouraging:
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?

7 comments:

Jennifer said...

You know stephanie, you are definitely one of those people. I may have never met you in person, but you always leave the sweetest most encouraging comments on my blogs. Thanks for the reminder and thanks for your sweet comment!

~Jennifer

Stephanie said...

Thanks Jennifer. I have a loooong way to go, but I appreciate your kind compliment. :)

Nancie said...

Hi Stephanie, this is such a sweet picture and encouraging verses! Precious reminder that we need God's grace and love to encourage His people daily. I am so thankful to God that I can know you and so many other encouraging friends through blogging. God is using all of you to be such great blessings and encouragements to me and I can never thank Him enough. Thanks for sharing this lovely picture, precious verses and encouragements from your heart. Take care and God bless you always! Happy WFW!

Edie said...

Hi Stephanie - This is such a good topic. I think we all have a bit of both, I know I do.

Practically speaking - I think it's important to focus on a positive quality in others and encourage with sincerety in that direction. I'm not good at it but I try. :)

Stephanie said...

Great point, Edie. And you know, I've noticed with kids (and it's probably true with adults also) that when you point out something positive in their character or life, it makes them want to excel even more in that area. Encouragement really is a powerful thing.

Rita Martinez said...

Hey Stephanie, I wanted to thank you again for your comments and these great posts you write!
I do know of people like that. One of them has encouraged me in this way just today! with something as simple as a text message.
The other person is the leader of the ministry I belong to, she is just such a wonderful godly woman, always with a smile! and always with something positive and encouraging to say. Just 2 days ago she called to see how I was doing, but got the answering machine and left the sweetest message ever!
I think things like that are encouraging as well.
Wishing a brother or sister in Christ the Lord's blessing when you greet them I think is another way.
Or even letting someone know they are in your prayers can be an encouragement.

Stephanie said...

Hi Rita, thanks for visiting. :)
Those are great ideas for encouragement.