"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
A few years ago, I left work to drive home. After a few minutes, I had to turn back because I had forgotten something I needed. I walked back into the building and a member of staff, out of the blue said to me, ‘I just want you to know we really appreciate you. We value your work here. I just want you to know that.’ I was utterly taken aback!! What had brought this on? In typical Scots fashion, I mumbled something like, ‘Yeh. Fine. Right’, while all the time thinking, ‘what’s got into him’? Anyway, I got what I needed and headed home. I was a bit bewildered, but, none the less, it was very encouraging. It felt good. I’ve never forgotten it.
Some time ago, a teacher I know was helping a man with his written English. He was a bit discouraged but the teacher pointed out to him all the things that were good about what he had done and assured him his action points were minor and he would make great progress. A few days later he told the teacher how much that had encouraged him. He made excellent progress after that.
In his Bible in One Year, Nicky Gumble writes, ‘Encouragement is not flattery or empty praise; it is like verbal sunshine.’ Isn’t that a beautiful image, verbal sunshine? Don’t we just love the sun? It makes us feel happier, lighter, brighter. Sunshine can be a real mood changer.......and so can encouragement.
We read the story in Acts 9:26 when the Apostle Paul (Saul at this point) went to Jerusalem to meet the believers there, ‘they were all afraid of him. They did not believe he had truly become a believer’. That could have been quite a frustrating and discouraging moment, but look who comes to his rescue; Barnabas, the ‘Son of Encouragement’.
However, there’s another bonus to bringing verbal sunshine into someone’s life. Have you ever noticed that as you encourage others, you too feel better? Proverbs 11:25 says:
“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
So, as we enter a new week, let’s try and bring some ‘verbal sunshine’ to those around us, and we’ll probably be surprised at how much refreshment comes our way too.
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Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.