As I watch my 4 year old son enthusiastically set off from the Junior Park Run start line each week, ready to speed round the course with much competitive gusto, his little legs powering on, I smile to myself. There he is determined to beat all the long legged 10 year olds striding out like gazelles! He drops back and finds his pace, still determined to win!! Every corner marked by a neon volunteer cheering words of encouragement and kindness, ‘great running…not far to go…well done’. I can see visibly see the words of encouragement land and light his face, adding an extra sonic boost to the final 100 metres. Encouragement is a precious gift that always uplifts and spurs on.
‘…if your gift is to encourage, then give encouragement…’ Romans 12 v 8
The gift of encouragement can often be overlooked and perceived to be menial and of little worth. The Biblical truth is encouragement is a powerful God given gift, imparted for good purpose. Encouragement requires us to be empathic and to connect with people in their lives. Discouraged hearts can become like corpses, empty of hope and zeal. It is often only when we receive encouragement that we remember the value of great worth it holds.
‘Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….’ 1 Thessalonians 5 v 11
The prefix en- means “to make, or put in.” When coupled with the word “courage,” it literally means to create courage in someone or to put courage inside of them.
Think about your own life and the ways others have shown you encouragement and brought strength and courage to your discouraged hearts and minds. Let us be part of each other’s stories and be people who enliven and impart. We can be people, who saturate dry ground with loving encouragement, take time to recognise what others do not see, take risks and cease moments.
Just as a sprinkle of salt can flavour a bland meal… a splash of water replenishes a wilting flower…a star ignite a dark sky…So Encouragement can transform and change…
What power there is in our encouragement; a word spoken in quietness, prayers, a note created to speak truth, a meal seasoned with love, a timely hug shared in compassion, an affirmation spoken, an applaud showered, an email composed, a ‘well done’ spoken in love.
Look out for the discouraged, the weak and disillusioned, the every-day people who need a sprinkle of salt, a splash of water, an encouraging ignition in their life. You and I can be the encourager who speaks truth and calls out the promise of hope.
Above all, keep abiding in the source of all encouragement, our strength and provider, Jesus Christ.
By Jo Frost