Janet is still smiling and quoting an encouraging email she got 24 hours ago from the chair of governors at her school. Encouragement is powerful – we use the word to talk about pointing out the positive in someone else. Its root meaning implies putting “courage in”.
Just before Joshua became leader of Israel to take them across the Jordan into the Promised Land, Moses was commanded by God to encourage and strengthen him. Centuries later, after a setback that meant all their wives and children had been captured, David’s men wanted to kill him they were so upset, but David “encouraged himself in the Lord” and then recaptured them back. The early church leader Barnabus was such an encourager, he was nicknamed “Son of encouragement”. That is a nickname more encouraging itself than “Son of Thunder”!
Encouragement is classed as a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8)- a supernatural ability that God gives to many of us. When we prophecy (speak a spontaneous thought that is in part coming from the Lord), we are to make sure it encourages and builds up those it is spoken too (1 Cor 14:3). By the way, only men and women and the young and old have the ability to prophecy (Acts 2:17-18)!
Don’t tell yourself that encouragement is only for those that are gifted at it, or who prophecy regularly. It is also a command that we all need to obey “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing”. (1 Thess 5:11) Having observed the effects on my lovely wife, we’d be foolish not to obey.
Who will you encourage today?