Sowing Seeds of Encouragement
We have all experienced the wonderful effects of encouraging words. Proverbs 25:11 reminds us, "Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."
Words of encouragement are like seeds that sprout fruit long after they are spoken. However, fear often keeps us from being an encouragement to others. It can be the fear of vulnerability, rejection, or pain; but they are all protective strategies we use to not be involved in other's lives.
Larry Crabb, in his excellent little book called Encouragement: The Key to Caring, reminds us that it is only as we are encouraged by God that we can encourage others. He says, "If, during our moments of deepest loneliness, we abandon ourselves completely to God, depending on Him to minister to us, we will meet God...We will then be enabled to continue with our commitment to minister, motivated by our time spent in His presence. Our words will be words of giving, overflowing with the love He has made known to us. Our words will have the power to encourage." (pg. 60).
How do we encourage others? 1) We need to expose ourselves to others needs without rejecting them. 2) We need to seek to understand them long before we give them advice. (This helps alleviate the fear of "What could I possibly say to help?") and 3) We need to speak words that promote awareness of that person's value. When we know we are valued by God, we can become dispensers of that grace to others.
Scripture: Hebrews 10: 24,25 - "And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together...but encouraging one another."
Action Point: Actively seek out opportunities to hear people's needs around you so that you can sow words of encouragement. Write a note of encouragement to someone today sharing why you value them. (A spouse, maybe?)
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