About a week ago I received a phone call from one of my college friends. Actually we played phone tag for about ½ an hour before we finally got our lines straight. Truth be told, I was a little anxious at first because I know that his wife was expecting and they have had some issues in the past. But when we finally got connected he assured me that everything was fine with the pregnancy. In fact, he said he actually just wanted to call me to encourage me. He wanted to thank me for being obedient to God’s calling on my life even to the point of moving halfway across the country. He wanted to say thank you for the sacrifice and the dedication I have showed to God in following after him. As I listened to those words (and even as I type them now) I was overwhelmed to the point of tears from the encouragement I took from this call. It came at just the right time and it brought some much needed encouragement to this Pastor. Believe it or not, sometimes even Pastors get frazzled and get our focus turned towards the wrong things and need a reminder of who God has called us to be.
I have heard it said before that certain people have the gift of encouragement. And while I do believe this is true for some people I don’t think the practice of encouragement is that exclusive. Take an athlete for example. There are those who are naturally talented, for instance yours truly…hahaha. But truly there are some individuals who just have something special about them. And yet there are also those who have made up their minds that they are going to be a good athlete regardless of their inborn ability. And through hard work and perseverance, they excel in whatever field they are pushing themselves into. I kind of feel this way about encouragement. There are some to whom it comes so effortlessly. They know the right things to say at just the right time and we all love to be around them. But I don’t think this has to be some sort of exclusive club. I think that much like any athlete who is determined to grow in their field of choice we all have the power to become a force of encouragement in the lives of those around us.
Hebrews 3:13 says this, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” I look around the world today and I see a lot of “hardened”, broken, hurting, injured, limping, desperate people. Longing for words of life to be spoken into them by someone…anyone who cares. We who carry the name of Christ should see this and we are called to respond. What better way to open someones eyes to Jesus than through words that bring life instead of death. May you find someone to speak life into today. May you find yourself so enamored with the power of encouragement that you become that source of power for someone else. And may you see the Spirit of God rush through you all the more as you encourage those around you.