As the social order puts more distractions on us, encouraging others is becoming a lost art. It is becoming difficult to find encouragement in humans. It appears that we have become more bitter, angry, irritable, judgmental and fickle. We cannot give what we do not possess.
Nevertheless, the Bible wants us to be a people who speak hope, consolation and encouragement towards one another. One man in the Bible who understood this well is Caleb (Number 13:30). As the majority sunk into the quagmire of self-pity and dejection, Caleb was busy firing them up; speaking words of faith. Caleb would not sit down and watch the enemy use discouragement to decimate people’s hope. That is the spirit we are supposed to carry.
It is refreshing to note that the angel of the Lord called Gideon ‘mighty worrier’ (Judges 6:12) even though we know Gideon was yet to take part in any combat. Can you imagine the angel of the Lord saluting him, “the Lord is with you, insignificant coward?” Even after getting an encouraging greeting from the angel, Gideon still discredited himself and doubted His God. Probably it would have been worse if the salutation had some negative words.
Barnabas was one of the outstanding Christian disciples of the First Century. His name means ‘Son of encouragement’ or ‘Son of exhortation’ (Acts 4:36). Throughout the book of Acts, one can follow Barnabas’ acts of encouragement. He lived up to the great name his buddies gave him.
In the Gospel of John 16:33, we find Jesus exhorting his followers; “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus message was meant to spur faith in his disciples who had to grapple with the cold fact of his physical departure. They knew Jesus was about to face terrible suffering, and they could do nothing to stop it. Their future looked ominous and dubious. They genuinely needed encouragement, and they got it in Jesus.
Back to the Old Testament, we find David in 1 Samuel 30:6 between a rock and a hard place. Encouragement was as hard to come by as a downpour in the Sahara. There was no one to encourage Him. His comrades were now plotting to kill him. He looked up to the mountains; there was no help. He had to encourage himself in the Lord His God. It is invigorating to know that His God watched his going out and coming in.
Be an Encourager. Spur faith in others. Stir action in others. Ignite the fire of hope in your neighbours. And when you find there is no one to offer encouragement, then be like David: encourage yourself in the Lord your God.
Anyway, do not go around thinking you are entitled to people’s exhortation. Do not assume anyone owes you encouragement. Always remember we are at different levels of spiritual maturity and fruits cannot be harvested from seedlings.
Be blessed as you purpose to be an encourager.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 New International Version (NIV).