I often wonder who it is that decides that a day out of our calendar is to be set apart as a national day to either celebrate, contemplate or participate in a given subject. It is done with an air of authority. When we are told that July 15th is the national day of celebration for people born in Norway of Jamaican descent with Chinese grandparents, no one ever challenges the day. Shouldn’t it actually be on August 8th? Or maybe July 17th, but definitely not the 15th?
Today is the national “Encourage-someone Day”.
This is a good day to email someone, phone them or visit them and encourage them. But you need to do it today, not tomorrow. Why not tomorrow? Simple. You don’t know if you will be here tomorrow, you can’t guarantee a thing – your life is in God’s hands.
We need encouragement. The Bible gives us the strong admonition, “Exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. (Hebrews 3:13)
There is a gift of encouragement that is imparted by the Spirit of God (Romans 12:7–8) but alongside that special support it would seem that God wants us all to benefit from a continuous flow of encouragement. It is very easy for us to be distracted by the events of life and for the river of encouragement to become log-jammed.
Time for the clever stuff
The word translated “encouragement” or “exhortation” is the Greek word paraklésis, related to the word paraclete. Paraklésis means “a call to one’s side.” Paraklésis carries the idea of bringing someone closely alongside in order to “exhort,” “urge,” “encourage,” “give joy,” and “comfort” him or her.
Whether not you have the gift or ‘grace’ of bringing encouragement you can bring encouragement in both public and private settings. The body of Christ is built up in faith as a result of the ministry of those with the gift of encouragement, and those with a heart to be encouraging.
Can a Christian be a non-encourager and still honour God?
Lets face it – not a single one of us in the Body of Christ has a call to be neutral in this. It is not a matter of “I don’t feel called to be encouraging, so I will eave it to someone else!”
The gift of encouragement focuses on the practical application of the Bible. It helps you to relate to others, in groups and individually, with understanding, sympathy, and positive guidance.
One of the best biblical example of someone with the gift of encouragement is Barnabas. His real name was Joseph, but the apostles called him “Barnabas,” which means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). We see Barnabas in Acts 9:27 coming alongside Paul and introducing him to a weary church. In Acts 13:43 Barnabas encourages the believers to continue in the grace of God.
I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. ~Robert H. Schuller
Later in Acts 15:36–41 Barnabas chooses John Mark as a ministry partner, despite Mark’s having deserted Paul in a previous missionary endeavor.
Barnabas gave Mark a second chance. All through Barnabas’s ministry, he evidenced the gift of encouragement, calling others to his side in order to help, comfort, and encourage them to become more effective for Christ.
We have a biblical mandate for TODAY being the day of encouragement. Now is the only time you have, so set about your initiatives to encourage someone. And if you can’t think who to encourage, start with me!