In a world where natural resources are slowly depleting, I believe there is one resource that will never run out. Yet so many people are hesitant to use it. It’s free to share, always works, and gives off no negative side effects. The resource I’m talking about is ENCOURAGEMENT.
Encouragement means “to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.” Isn’t it amazing to think that you can make someone’s day with just a few words? Just last week, coming home from a youth event my son, Jack, told me in the car (unprompted), “Dad, I’m so glad that we got to have some me and you time.” My heart melted in one sentence. That got me thinking… Why am I so free to give away complaints, critiques, and criticism? Why do “FAIL” videos trend almost immediately on social media when we rarely hear stories of people doing the small, simple things right? Why am I not dispensing more compliments, way-to-go’s, and thank-you-for’s to loved ones, friends, and co-workers? What do I really have to lose?
Life Is Too Short To Be A Jerk
Life is filled with difficult people and difficult situations. No one has to “work” to be discouraged. Whether it’s work, home life, relationships, or circumstance, it’s easy to get down. No matter who you are or where you live, hardships are like gravity in that you can’t ignore them and they always pull you down. Don’t believe me? Watch the evening news one night and take note of how many negative stories they share compared to positive ones. In a world filled with negative situations and negative people, why not change focus, if even for a moment.
Think back to the last “great” day you had. I’m guessing somewhere along the way, someone said or did something to put you in a better mood. Why not do that for the people around you? Imagine if people took turns trying to out give, encourage, or compliment each other, instead of sharing complaints of their day.
The Example – Barnabas
Barnabas’ name literally means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). He took a risk on reaching outsiders by speaking for Paul (formerly called Saul) when no other disciple was willing to take a chance on him. Without Barnabas, Paul would not have had the ministry success that we study still today. Barnabas also took a step at strengthening the church in Antioch by teaching there for a year and encouraging believers (Acts 11:22-24). Finally, he took a leap when listening to the Holy Spirit as the church sent he and Paul out on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-3). Barnabas could have been critical of Paul’s past. He could have ignored the need of Antioch when he had a successful ministry elsewhere. He could have complained about their missionary journeys, but instead we read of Barnabas’ encouragement to all.
Sometime today, do the following to encourage the people around you:
1 – Tell ONE loved one (spouse, parent, child, or sibling) something specific that you love about them.
2 – Tell TWO co-workers, bosses, employees, teachers, or students something they have done well or something that they do that you’re grateful for.
3 – Text THREE friends a bible verse and an encouraging reminder that you’re praying for them.
The world would be a better place if we spent just a little more time encouraging the people around us. Don’t be frugal with your compliments. Once you’ve completed this challenge, share with someone else to do the same. What if the world looked at the Church as the place to go for love, encouragement, and acceptance? Live like Jesus, encourage like Barnabas, and show some people some love today.
High School Pastor
North Ridge Community Church