“Remember this: No matter how high you may climb in life, no matter how great the promotion or important the title, it is always appropriate that you take time to encourage.” ~ Charles R. Swindoll
It’s impossible to measure the worth of mutual encouragement. Whether spoken or written, a few encouraging words can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a single event or, in fact, someone’s entire life. Let’s focus our attention on a man named Joseph, whose life was known for such thoughtfulness. Amazingly, his nickname, Barnabas, became far better known than his given name, as it announced his commitment to encouraging others.
Everyday life provides plenty of opportunities to apply the principles found in Acts 4:32-37 regarding Barnabas’ encouragement. In fact, Chuck Swindoll mentions several opportunities in his sermon: in teaching, coaching, parenting, marriage, work, pastoring...there are an abundance of opportunities to practice encouragement, and you’re never too young, old, rich, or poor to start.
Becoming an encouragement to others doesn’t require a lot of time, money, possessions, training, or even great intelligence. You don’t need to be a certain age before you have earned the right to reach out, come alongside others, and elevate their spirits to greater heights. What you do need is the willingness to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, imagine how they must feel, and then step up.
Here are the ways to encourage that Chuck observed from the life of Joseph/Barnabas.
- Financial encouragement. Think of opportunities to give financially to a need. When you become aware of a genuine need, help out!
- Endorsement encouragement. Is there someone you could vouch for? Could your words help correct wrong thinking or prejudice? Speak up!
- Servant-hearted unselfish encouragement. Give others the chance to share in the privilege of ministering to others. Unselfishly ask another to take your place
- Second-chance encouragement. Do you know someone who has failed or fallen in the past, who is now repentant? Your reassurance could help this person get back on his or her feet
Make a game plan to commit random acts of encouragement. This is an application you can add to your life right away!