Be An Encourager

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

After David learned that Saul was on his way to Ziph to find and kill him, “Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ Jonathan reassured him. ‘My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware’ ” (1 Samuel 23:15–17, NLT).

A little encouragement can go a long way, especially when God is in it.

My siblings and I were decent kids who, most of the time, made good grades in school, obeyed the rules, and were generally pleasant.

We were involved in school- and church-related activities, often singing in a trio with our sister Eula as pianist. It wasn’t until I was grown that I asked my mother why we never heard any encouraging words from her. She responded, “Sister so-and-so (an older pillar in the church, supposedly wiser and more experienced in raising children) told me that if I did not encourage you, you would always try harder.” She probably thought we would get “a big head,” as it was called back in the day, if we were encouraged. I am so grateful I did not follow that advice while raising our children or teaching school.

“Kind, cheerful, and encouraging words will prove more effective than the most healing medicines. These will bring courage to the heart of the desponding and discouraged, and the happiness and sunshine brought into the family by kind acts and encouraging words will repay the effort tenfold.” Frequently, an article in the women’s devotional book resonates with me so much that I have an insatiable desire to let the writer know how much she has blessed me.

I search for her name in the biographies.

When a published work or a special ministry is mentioned, the website or email is often in the bio. If the writer is on Facebook, I message her.

Other clues are very helpful: last name, church home, or place of employment. When I find the writer and my mission is accomplished, she is encouraged and I am blessed. Finding someone to encourage need not be difficult. It can be as simple as saying, “Great job!” “How thoughtful,” or “Thank you” to the person right in front of you.

Be an encourager today!

Shirley Sain Fordham

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