Muriel shares with us some practical advice about becoming a daughter of encouragement in this week’s Monday Minute. This is such an important part of living in community and growing together.
Be a Daughter of Encouragement
By Muriel Gregory
“Hi! How are you doing?”
Those five casual words connect us in our daily lives. From the coffee shop to our Bible studies, we greet each other with those simple words.
If I am out and about, I will speak those words many times throughout the day. To be honest, I do not pay much attention to the reply. It is not a conversation but more of a transaction. Naturally, “Hi! How are you doing?” is followed by “Fine. How about you?”
Encouragement Begins By Listening
Our Jesus-centered life begs us, however, to pay more attention to our interlocutor and listen carefully to the answer.
I remember one Tuesday morning this past fall. As I was walking to my Bible study classroom, I saw my friend and proceeded to greet her, “How are you doing?” She paused and did not answer right away. This caused me to look at her and see that she was not doing ok or fine. She is a young mom of small children, and that particular morning she was feeling like a complete failure because her kids were, you know, being kids. And she broke down. A causal greeting turned into an opportunity to put some courage into her weary heart.
Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
The early church is our primary example of a healthy community. They were facing tremendous opposition, threats, and persecution. They also carried out the monumental mission to be Jesus’ witnesses to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8). So, they gathered together, prayed, broke bread, and studied Scriptures (Acts 2:42). They also did not consider what they had to be their own but shared with everyone else (Acts 4:32). At this point in the story, we meet Barnabas. His birth given name was Joseph, but the apostles renamed him Barnabas – son of encouragement.
We All Need Encouragement
Barnabas was not only a prominent member of the Church in Jerusalem, but he is also the one who introduced the newly converted Paul to the apostles (Acts 9:26-27). He also accompanied Paul on his first mission trip and was crucial in the spreading of the gospel in Antioch (Acts 11). Barnabas is not the main character or even a hero. Yet, every hero needs a sidekick. Without Sam, Frodo would have never made it to Mordor. Luke Skywalker needed Han Solo to defeat the emperor. No matter how tough we are, we all need a little encouragement along the way.
Encouragement: “giving someone confidence and courage to do something. Scripture encourages believers to trust in God and to rely on the enabling of the Holy Spirit.”
The constant encouragement of other people is what brought me to where I am today. Retreat looks inviting when the task ahead is beyond our perceived abilities. Growth only truly happens when we are stretched. A timely word of encouragement is the fuel we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
My friend needed some fuel that Tuesday morning. The task of motherhood is draining. Nothing in her situation had changed, but her heart had received the assurance that she was a good mom and that she was doing a great job.
To encourage is to put courage in.
Read: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-15
Reflect: Encouragement comes in many forms and for a variety of reasons. What are the ones listed in the passage above?
Respond: How can you be an encouragement to someone this week? Make it your goal this week to encourage as many people as you can. Sometimes it is as easy as a smile or intentionally listening to how someone is doing.
Lord, help me be a daughter of encouragement. Help me see the ones who need a pour in of courage and give me the words. Amen.
If you are in need of encouragement, the Planting Roots Prayer Team would be honored to encourage you through prayer. You can submit your requests on our Prayer Request Page.