In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus showed His need for encouragement. “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death….O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:38) Jesus turned to His Father for encouragement even though His divine nature had full knowledge of God’s salvific plan.
Encouragement is defined as “the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.” If the Creator of the world needed to receive this type of support from His Father, how much more, as finite, created beings, might we need it as well? Notice also that encouragement is defined as an “action of giving.” Regardless of whether it’s given to you or given by you, the act of encouragement requires the participation of at least two parties. It cannot happen in isolation.
As Christians, I believe we have a responsibility to encourage others. The primary reason is because it’s what Jesus did, and our goal should be to emulate Him. In the book of Luke, Jesus saw difficulties coming for the believers of that time—including His disciples. He said, “What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows….don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” (Luke 12:6,11-12 NLT) In just a few short sentences, Jesus reinforces their value to the Father, and then reminds them that, regardless of what happens, they will have the Support (with a capital “S”) that they need.
In the writings of Mrs. White, you’ll find suggestions of encouragement as well. In her book My Life Today, she says, “Kind, cheerful, encouraging words will prove more effective than the most healing medicines. These will bring courage to the heart of the desponding and discouraged, and the happiness and sunshine brought into the family by kind acts and encouraging words will repay the effort tenfold.” (p. 157)
What would happen if we took Mrs. White at her word when she says that our encouraging words would “repay the effort tenfold?” Would we perceive the change in courage and happiness in our immediate family? In our place of work? In our Sabbath School class? In the larger context of our cities and communities? I want to do better about encouraging others so I can have this kind of impact on the world around me.
How about you?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://spencervillechurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/jas-headshot.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jason Lombard is the Associate Pastor for Administration, Media and Communications at Spencerville Church in Northern Silver Spring, Maryland. On Twitter? Follow Jason @jasonrlombard.[/author_info] [/author]