Last week, in my post about thinking back on the goals we set in January (way back then!) and assessing our progress toward those goals, I mentioned the benefit of finding – and keeping company with – faith builders. Those gals who lift us up – strengthening our faith and helping us walk closer with the Lord. We all need faith builders. Encouragers.
But, in the very same way, we all need to be faith builders. To be actively – and regularly – encouraging others in their spiritual life and walk. Some of us have the gift of encouragement – and isn’t that a wonderful thing? Being a faith builder just comes naturally for some. But, whatever your spiritual gift, all of us are expected to be encouragers.
Hebrews 3:13a “But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today….”
To exhort is exactly that – to encourage. Or as one dictionary said, “to strongly encourage.” We are to daily be encouraging each other. Yes, that encouragement might come through the written word (I am often blessed through the blogs and devotionals of gifted writers) or it might simply be a quick word – even a text. But I think stronger encouragement comes through conversation. Real dialogue – not only the spoken words but (especially) the listening. Not only are both key to encouraging someone else but how often do we find ourselves encouraged as well?
I also think there is real value in one-to-one encouragement. There might be times when you are able to encourage an entire family. And that is a blessing. Or perhaps you regularly meet with a small group of ladies – a book club, a mom’s group, or a Bible study – and you encourage one another. Another blessing! But there is something about individual time that is needful, helpful and precious. Look for someone each day to cheer one. And ask God to show you someone who could use your quality time. You probably will not need to look far!
One final idea/suggestion for being an encourager – and actually the point of this post. One of the best and often most effective ways to be an encourager does not require you to know just the right things to say – or to say anything at all. It is simply showing up. Being present. Think of your pastor. He studies. He prepares. And he prays over each sermon. Yes, he prays that hearts will respond, and that is encouraging, but one of the greatest encouragements he has each week is for people to actually fill the pews. Having live bodies to whom he can preach is, well, very encouraging! The same is true for the small group leader, the new mom starting a playgroup, the soloist, or the one heading up a worknight at the church. The list is endless. At church or in your neighborhood. Being faithful goes a long way. Your presence not only encouragers the one expecting you but can also encourage others to continue to be faithful.
And – this one is just for me – come with a sweet spirit. And a smile. My face is not naturally smiling. Actually, just the opposite, if I’m honest. Even though I am present, my sullen face often makes it seem as if I would rather be anywhere else. Not exactly encouraging! I also tend to be a wallflower….but that is for another post. However, our body language and our smiles can do much to encourage (or to discourage!) others – without us ever saying a word! Be aware of that.
I want God to use me as a faith-builder. This can be done in so many ways. How has God used you to encourage someone else in their faith this week? I would love for you to share. Leave me a thought/idea – or just share your experience – in the comments below. If someone has been an encourager to you…thank them and thank God for them!!