Sunday, March 3, 2013
Encouragement for the Encourager
Following my drifting thoughts, I am reminded of the people I was fortunate enough to meet there. The staff and those associated with Beginning of Life Ministries are unlike most I meet in the states. They work tirelessly to bring change. They awake every morning, intent on doing their part. They don't complain about their work, nor do they glamorize it. They simply do the work.
This made me think of all of the encouragers that I have been blessed to know. People who take the time to speak an encouraging word into my life are few and far between, or at least it seems that way. Some of us are given the job of an encourager. Pastors, counselors, teachers, writers and bloggers often fall into the encouragement category. There are several of these in my life who work tirelessly to bring some sort of change. And I wonder, do we even notice?
You have undoubtedly heard the adage "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" right? Well, now you have. Those who are full of complaints and negativity tend to be squeaky. They creak and make awful noises as they lament about life. They complain of everything from money to family, government to jobs, retirement and boredom all the way to the church and missions. These people are the anti-encouragers in life and are meant to grow us. Apparently God thought I could use a lot of growth as nearly every corner of my life has a squeaky wheel :). These people are loud and opinionated and could care less if their words hurt or healed. Do you know any of these? Or are you one? If you cannot bring one to mind, chances are it's you....
Squeaky wheels tend to get the attention because they make the most noise. If they feel they have been wronged in any way, you will know about it. Encouragers are different. Though many encouragers are no more quiet throughout life, they are quite the opposite of the squeaky wheel. They find the positive in situations even though it can seem impossible to find. The speak words that build up, never tear down. They are the people who you look forward to hearing from, not the ones whose calls make you cringe. We all have at least one encourager in our life, chances are we are simply overlooking them.
God has blessed me with encouragement. He knows when the storms of life are raging that I could use a bit more, and He is faithful to send them. Encouragers don't think about themselves too often. They are far more involved in helping others to turn inward. They don't hold grudges or live in the past. They simply allow the love of God to flow freely through them. It may be the sweet lady at church who is always thrilled just to see you (thank you Ms. Nancy!), or the friend who prays for you right when you ask. Perhaps it is the attendant at the gas station who asks how your day is, or the complete stranger who compliments your hair. Encouragers are all around. We must learn to look past the squeaky wheels to see them.
When was the last time you took the time to encourage your encourager? When was the last time you said thanks? Perhaps today could be that day. No gift is required and it will probably take less than one minute. Encouragers need encouragement too....just as we all need it from time to time. We can all live out Ephesians 4 by learning to guard our tongue and speak encouraging words to others. Make that commitment today and carry on as an encourager of many.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful in building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29