One of the greatest roles of the church and its members is the act of encouragement we provide for one another. I would really categorize it as a privilege that Christians are gifted with. While some are more naturally or spiritually gifted to encourage, it is an important trait that all Christians should nurture.
The Greek word normally translated to mean encourage is paraklesis. According to Strong’s Concordance it means a calling to exhort, entreat, encourage or comfort. We can see in those synonyms that the act of encouragement serves many roles that include motivating us to minister to others, serving those in need and passing along verbal inspiration to lift one another’s spirits. We comfort and encourage because it is the example set by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
There are plenty of ways and opportunities in our daily lives to provide encouragement to others. People should not have to beg for encouragement from us. We should dole it out generously, especially to the household of faith. Simple things like general compliments go a long way to fortify each other. Gathering together for worship, fellowship, acts of service and fun times are great opportunities for our spiritual family to stimulate one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). We can also be there during times of trial and temptation to assist our brothers and sisters through difficult times and help them find relief.
Following are some areas where encouragement is an important part of our ministry:
- Husbands/Wives: Wives… your husbands could definitely use your words and actions of encouragement. Men are not as thick-skinned as they like to portray. Your kindness goes a long way in helping us be better leaders for our family. Husbands…wives do far more work than you’ll ever know. I have yet to meet a wife who wouldn’t be thrilled to be rewarded with daily compliments and encouragement from their husband.
- Parents: As a teacher, I see daily the struggles kids go through trying to fit in to this messed up world we live in. Sometimes parents are so busy chasing career and personal success that they forget about the all important job of encouraging their children. Every child deserves to have their parents as their biggest fans.
- Elders/Deacons: One of the biggest hurdles in the church today is that elderships have the tendency to focus more on budgets and buildings and logistics instead of teaching, prayer and encouragement. When you look at the criteria for being an elder in 1 Timothy and Titus, you can see that being an encourager is both implied and stated directly. It’s important for elders to remember that people take precedence over projects. A wise elder is one who pursues personal relationships with his flock in order that he may be ready when it is appropriate to lend a kind word or hand.
- Everyone: Although the Bible refers to encouraging as a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8), it is not something that we should pass off on others who are better suited. All Christians have a responsibility to encourage if we are to be like Christ.
One of the biggest reasons I began this blog was to encourage others in their walk with Christ. I hope that the posts, devotionals and words that are shared here in some small way give you encouragement and the desire to serve the Lord. I pray that I glorify God who has given me the wonderful privilege to encourage you as we anxiously await the return of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Encourager.