We Need a Little Encouragement — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

We Need a Little Encouragement — Morning Devotions

Life can be very challenging most of the time. We need encouragement and so do other people. Let's be prepared to step in and help others.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsTuesday 30 Nov 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes

There’s an old story about a preacher leaving a church. At his farewell dinner, he tried to encourage one of the pillar members, Don’t be so sad. The next preacher might be better than me. She replied, That’s what they said last time, but it keeps getting worse. (Source: John Ortberg, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, p. 159).

Life can be very challenging most of the time. As we live our lives, we need a lot of help along the way. We face so many challenges at every turn, that it is important for us to have people in our lives that will get behind us to tell us we can do it.

What do people need when they are struggling? Encouragement! What do people need when they need to be challenged to do something that may seem out of their normal range of ability? Encouragement!

Those who have children know that when they make those first attempts at walking, what do you do? Come on dummy, you should be walking by now, you are four months old! No, you try to encourage them.

William Arthur Ward said, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticise me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.”

So what can change the life of another person? Encouragement! Our lives are probably full of people who have taken the time to encourage us along life’s way—even if we haven’t always appreciated that. Encouragement can sometimes be constructive criticism as well as nice words.

When we say we are encouraging another person, what does that really mean? Are we encouraging someone when we yell at them or tell them they are not going to amount to nothing in life? Is being critical of everything being an ‘encourager’? Take a look around you, and see others who need a bit of encouragement—in fact we all need it.

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We are such self-centred creatures that from the moment we wake up until the moment we lay our head back on the pillow, we are consumed with ourselves. We think about our sorrow, our concern and our need for understanding and affirmation. We forget others have needs as well.

The meaning of encouragement

What does the word ‘encourage’ mean? To encourage means to ‘come alongside of’.

If we are going to encourage others, we need to come alongside of them and help them. The word can mean that we come along. An important part of encouraging another person is the willingness to step in and walk beside them.

In the Bible we meet a man named Barnabas. He was known as the ‘son of encouragement’ (Acts 4:36). He loved to encourage others—it was his special gift. Maybe you’ve got that gift as well.

If we are going to encourage others, we must maintain a positive attitude. You can encourage someone while pushing them past what they think they can do; they have to see we have a positive attitude with them. People will achieve great heights if they know others believe in them. It’s easy to be negative and critical. Not so easy to be always positive.

William Barclay once said:

One of the highest of human duties is the duty of encouragement… It is easy to laugh at man’s ideals. It is easy to pour cold water on the enthusiasm. It is easy to discourage others. The world is full of discouragers. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet. Blessed is the man who speaks such a word.

The English poet William Wordsworth once said, “That best portion of a good man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.”

The Duke of Wellington, the British military leader who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was not an easy man to serve under. He was brilliant, demanding, and not one to shower his subordinates with compliments. Yet even Wellington realised that his methods left something to be desired. In his old age a young lady asked him what, if anything, he would do differently if he had his life to live over again. Wellington thought for a moment, then replied. “I’d give more praise,” he said.

When was the last time you encouraged someone with your words or actions? We are most Christlike when we can show compassion and love for others.