The Power Of Encouragement
Paul stated: “My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love.”
Have you experienced a day when you could use a little encouragement? Can you remember a time when someone came along beside you to encourage you?
Henry G. Bosch of “Our Daily Bread” told a story about a family who were undergoing deep financial problems. The story went like this: a group of people had gathered together to pray with the family. “While one of the deacons was offering a fervent prayer for blessing upon the family, there was a loud knock at the door. The door was opened and there stood the sturdy son of one of the local farmers”. “The astonished churchman” asked him what he wanted. He answered: “Pa couldn't come, so I brought his prayers in the wagon”. The elder didn't understand and asked him “what do you mean?” The boy answered once again, “I brought Pa's prayers. Just come and help me, please, and we'll bring them in.” When they went to the wagon, “the fact was disclosed that Pa's prayers consisted of potatoes, flour, beef, oatmeal, turnips, apples, jellies, and clothing.”
The above example would have brought great encouragement to the family and most likely deepened their faith and commitment to God. This act of kindness shown by the “local farmer” would also inspire the people who had gathered together to pray, and witness the Lord's answer to their prayers.
The Book of James puts emphasis on how God's people ought to put their faith into action. Almighty God created His people to need each other. They ought to take the initiative to assist others with prayers, compassion, speaking kind words, and to come along beside them to motivate them to grow deeper in their spiritual life. I Thessalonians 5 states: “Therefore encourage one another and strengthen one another.”
In the Book of Matthew there is an example of Jesus providing encouragement to a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. Jesus and his disciples were going to the home of a leader of a synagogue when the woman came up behind Him. She thought: “If I can just touch His robe, I will be healed.” She then reached out and touched the fringe of His robe. Jesus turned around and stated to her: “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well”, and she was healed. The encouraging and healing words of Jesus must have boosted her faith, and made her heart full of praise and thanksgiving.
Just thinking about doing a good deed for someone in distress does not bring encouragement to them. Why not meditate on the above illustrations that expressed encouragement to others. The people who prayed with the financially downtrodden family, the “local farmer” sharing his food and clothing, or the spoken words of Jesus that brought encouragement and healing to the woman are all examples for God's people to follow.
Lord God, thank You for showing us the power of encouragement through the examples in Your life on earth. Help us to encourage others so their faith will be strengthened. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington