“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
~1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
We are all ‘gifted’ to encourage—it doesn’t simply fall to the relative few who have the gift of encouragement. This gift is also destined to grow with use. And it doesn’t simply bless others on the receiving end, but us as well. As such, the kindness of encouragement is always requited in the general sense.
Carrying and Passing the Baton
Some indeed have the role of encouraging people and certain efforts during a season—one that comes and then passes. The flow of life is such that we’re all moving on.
Some of the people who used to encourage me in what I do six months ago aren’t there now; some merely came for a season, and any encouragement, however fleeting, is always welcome. As they go on they go on to encourage others who are equally needy of the kindnesses forthcoming, to continue their efforts in an affirmed way.
For these, they carry the baton of encouragement for a while before passing it to others—unknowingly I guess—in their moving on. Yet, they’ll always be a source of encouragement.
It’s these that carry a burden for a person or a situation for a time; a time often that’s difficult to define, God’s Spirit, of course, leading and directing.
Longer Term Encouragers
There are those too who feel called to encourage one single thing or particular things for the longer term, perhaps even indefinitely.
There are those who find innovative ways to encourage—there are at least a few faces of people buzzing about in my mind now that have literally surprised me how they encouraged, and how they continue to encourage.
We all love to be blown away by kindnesses like this.
Note to would-be encouragers: add a unique very-you twist to the manifestation of your encouragements.
Encouragement – With and Without
Those who do not seek to encourage are probably rarely encouraged themselves, and who knows, they mightn’t even need it.
Still, being encouraged—and this takes many forms—is something I think we all need.
Some will be a little more self-reliant or perhaps even stronger of faith, but still, we should never assume that someone doesn’t need to be encouraged. We just never know when our kinds words, offer of help, a lovely gift or some time, or a hug might make a tremendous difference.
We just never know, so indeed, we should just sow.
Thanking our Encouragers
Where would any of us truly be without these angels of God, coming to us in our darker hours plagued with doubt, to simply and gently affirm? Life would certainly be tougher without them.
Perhaps it bodes us well, this minute even, to commend a prayer and a note of thanks and praise for our encouragers—those who’ve seen us through the harder times, and those also who’ve buoyed our abiding spirits when all was well and safe.
Perhaps the best way to thank our encouragers is simply to pass it on; encourage them back and follow their lead, blessing others’ lives, per the movie, Pay It Forward.
Be creative. Be transformational. Inspire and relate.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.