Sometimes we need encouragement. Always, we should be encouraging others. It is encouragement to people to work alongside them, to be involved with them. Praise is good…but praise in action is better! When we encourage others they see Christ in us and ultimately see Christ in themselves. The key is–encouragement helps others see Jesus.
“One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement…. It is easy to laugh at men’s ideals; it is easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm; it is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.” ~~ William Barclay
Acts 11:23-24 (TNIV)
23 When he [Barnabas] arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
In the book of Acts, Barnabas is dispatched to the church in Antioch and upon arriving saw that what the people were doing was good and….he encourages them. There are two interesting things that I would like to note here:
1. The name “Barnabas” means “son of encouragement” and yes, Barnabas certainly lives up to his name here.
2. The Greek word translated as “encouragement” here is, “parakaleo” [par-ak-al-eh-o] which has a meaning of “comfort”. Interestingly enough, the Greek word that Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:16 that is “parakletos” [par-ak-lay-tos] which also has the meaning of “comforter, helper, advocate”.
The key here is that when we encourage each other we comfort each other and we help each other. We build each other up and give strength just like the Holy Spirit gives us strength.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (TNIV)
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
As followers of Jesus we are to encourage one another in two areas: Love and good deeds. When we offer words of support and encouragement we strengthen each other and lift each other up. People can overcome adversity, accomplish great things and do more than they even think possible when we encourage them.
May you encourage those around you today….in love and good deeds! Be an encourager, not a discourager.