As the SE Asia service team makes preparations for our upcoming journey, we have laid out some objectives. One of those objectives is to encourage the group we are going to visit. We discussed a few things, but I wondered how the Apostle Paul was encouraged by others as he devoted his life to sharing God’s message with others.
So over the next few days I’m going to be doing some digging into the encouragement realm. How to encourage those who are sharing the Gospel and how Christians can be encouraged.
There are three elements to encouragement. First, is the idea to inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; to hearten. Second is to give support to; to foster. And third is to stimulate; to spur.[i]
Inspiration is a great concept to bring into encouragement. Sometimes if we don’t see the vision, we will not be encouraged to join into a project, or desire to be part of a team. When we are able to cast that vision, we will be able to draw others into seeing what God sees.
What are we to inspire with? Hope, courage, or confidence. As a Christian, there is no greater hope than to know one day I will see Jesus face to face. That hope gives me the courage and confidence to do what I am called to. Whether it’s writing a daily blog, going on a service trip, witnessing to a stranger, leading a women’s Bible study, or reading a Bible story to my grandchildren. The hope I have in Christ Jesus inspires me!
The second element to encouragement is giving support. I believe this includes several areas. For those in ministry, we must support them financially. The men and women who have dedicated their lives to serving a local congregation are to be compensated for their work. But it goes beyond that.
Providing appreciative, emotional, moral support to a person in ministry is an encouragement to them. Knowing that a group of people are behind them will drive them to follow the call that God has placed upon them. Doing the opposite is the fastest way to drive a minister from a church.
And third, we see that encouragement has an element of stimulation. To spur on. You’ve heard how yawns and laughter are contagious, right? Well encouragement is contagious as well. Being motivated to do better. To be better. To serve better. It will catch on.
Encouragement. There is a lot more to this word than meets the eye. This blog post is near completion and I haven’t even shared a Bible verse!
In Romans 12, Paul lists the different functions of the body of Christ. This is what he says. “We have different gifts, according to the grace given us, if a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.” (Romans 12:6-8 – NIV)
While I believe there are those who are truly gifted in the encouragement area, I believe each of us must be an encourager. There are so many other verses that say, “encourage one another.” And we’ll be discussing those over the next few days.
Take some time today to see how you are an encourager. To whom are you an encourager? When was the last time you were an encourager to your minister? Or to a missionary? Or to a co-worker?
Are you lacking in this area? If so, pray that God will open your heart to ways to add this wonderful gift into your life.
I must admit, I haven’t done as well with this as I should. I’m thankful for the eye-opening experience of going on a service trip to find these areas of my life that are lacking. I pray that the desire to be an encourager will pierce your heart as it has mine.
The SE Asia service team is training and preparing to go on this trip. We are now just 36 days from leaving. I have been encouraged by so many already and am so thankful for them. If you have the desire to be an encourager to me, please let me know.
I’d love to have you join my prayer partner team. You will receive emails from me before I leave sharing prayer requests and praises. And while I am gone, a lovely lady will be sending daily prayer requests by email, detailing what we will be doing on that day and how you can encourage us through prayer.
I’d love to have you join my financial partner team. I’ve been so blessed already. The costs are nearly covered. However, it still isn’t enough. If God is placing this on your heart, please feel free to contact me through this blog and I’ll get the information to you as to how you can help. Or you can go to http://preachitclearly.blogspot.com/2012/07/make-difference-in-southeast-asia.html for more information.
Encouragement. One word filled with so much meaning. Let’s be encouragers today. To whomever your path crosses. Don’t miss an opportunity to say a good, kind word. To do a kind deed. To be faithful to God’s mission. Through encouragement, you will be encouraged.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,