Monday, August 29, 2011

Encourager, Encourager; Wherefore Art Thou My Encourager?

There are not enough encouragers in the Body of Christ. Perhaps they have been hi-jacked by a critical spirit but we need to get them back. This is what I realized the other day in the middle of our school's car wash.

Strange place for a revelation on the function of the body but anywhere team-work is required we will find parallels with the Body of Christ. We were on the second day of the car wash and a few of us were running out of steam. It was sunny, we were all sunburned, water logged and very low on energy. To be honest I was ready to pack it in. That's not like me. I am a "go to the end of it" sort of guy but I was really done in. That's when a wonderful thing happened.

While we workers were slugging it out with the cars, vans and trucks a couple of ladies from the church showed up. They rallied the younger children around and started making tons of noise to draw in other customers. The enthusiasm and joy was contagious. All of us suddenly felt a new wave of energy flooding over us. Their chanting and singing lifted us to a new level; a fresh wind and fresh fire. They didn't even realize what they were doing for us but they became our encouragers.

Oh how we need this in the Church. How many of the workers, the warriors are feeling tired and warn out? How many are at the point of just giving up? How many cannot find the strength to even lift their head? They need Spirit-inspired encouragement, that one word that renews their strength and helps them reach a new level of faith and trust. If we would transfer our energy from a critical spirit to an encouraging one, life would look a lot different for all of us. Scripture tells us:

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

We are expected to be encouragers. Do you remember Paul's friend Barnabas? Do you realize that his name was actually Joseph? He became known as Barnabas because of his character, Barnabas meaning "Son of Encouragement". Should we be surprised then that it was Barnabas who was the first to extend a hand of friendship to Saul of Tarsus? When everyone else shunned him and tried to avoid this former persecutor of the Church, Barnabas came to him boldly and later introduced him to apostles like Peter. When Paul needed a friend the most there was Barnabas. How many more Saul's are out there who need an encourager to help them step into the greatness they have been called to? How many other groups are out there who have been working hard and simply need a cheer leader to come along to lift them up?

Those who have the gift of encouragement, let him encourage. We are desperate for you.

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