2 Corinthians 13:11 "Finally, brothers, rejoice! Aim for perfect harmony, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”
One of the great and necessary tasks of our day, is to encourage one another. It is a great task, because the simple, yet profound power of encouragement is effective to build up the lives of others and ourselves. Encouragement is a necessary task in these days when so many things seem to be so tense and uncertain, and there are so many opportunities to lose faith and hope, and to slip into a darkness of wary depression. There is nothing that limits the power of encouragement except our willingness to give it. God has given us the gift of encouragement as a tool to enrich and sweeten the lives of others. So let me join in with scripture, as it encourages us to take on a lifestyle of encouragement.
The dictionary defines encouragement as “to inspire with courage, spirit or hope”. That is to say, that when we take time to lift up someone else with an encouraging word, we are breathing into them a sweetness of life, the resolution to face challenges, and the expectation of a better day. Surprisingly, it does not take very much to bring this kind of life-giving sweetness to someone else’s life. It simply takes a little bit of interest.
In our world, there are so many distractions, busy schedules, and so much focus on the negative things in life, that we seldom have anything left of ourselves to take a genuine interest in other people. So many of us are too busy trying to survive our own lives because we have stacked them up with endless lists of tasks, obligations and cravings, that we don’t have much margin to give to the people around us and take a genuine interest in building them up. However, if we take the time to engage one another in conversation, take the time to listen instead of answer, or find opportunities to lift one another up and point each other to a higher mark, we will not only sweeten someone else’s life but also our own. And there is nothing wrong with reaching the end of the day, knowing that God has been able to use you to bring a little light to a dark world.
Encourage one another: thank a teacher for taking time to educate, let a hospital worker know you appreciate their efforts on behalf of the sick and dying, tell your pastor about what God is teaching you through their ministry, let a friend know you are thinking of them, lend a helping hand expecting nothing in return. The opportunities are endless if we are looking for them. Surely our homes, our churches, our families, and our community will be a better place for these simple acts of encouragement.