How can you tell if a person needs encouragement? If they are breathing.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is the ability to encourage others. We all need to know that someone believes in us. We all need someone to encourage us. Equally, we all need to be that source of encouragement and kindness.
Hope is the strongest motivation for persevering. Hope reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Hope encourages our hearts and minds to stay strong and focused even in the midst of life’s darkest days and challenging circumstances.
In his book The Fruitful Life, author Jerry Bridges wrote, “Kindness is a sincere desire for the happiness of others; goodness is the activity calculated to advance that happiness. Kindness is the inner disposition, created by the Holy Spirit, that causes us to be sensitive to the needs of others, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Goodness is kindness in action – words and deeds” (p 117). Jesus taught in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Mercy is compassion in action. Mercy is not only recognizing a need, but taking action to meet it.
If a person wants a friend, he must be a friend. Jesus taught us that we are to be a friend to anyone. I realize that it is not possible to be close friends with everyone, but that does not negate the need to be friendly to everyone. God has planted each of us in our own contexts of family, vocation and community. God has given each of us a stewardship of influence with those person with whom we come into contact. So, how do we exhibit friendliness to everyone, regardless of who they are? Bridges wrote, “All of us have the opportunity to administer the kind or encouraging word –to do the little, perhaps unseen, deed that makes life more pleasant for someone else. Accept the cost of good deeds in time, thought, and effort. But remember that opportunities for doing good are not interruptions in God’s plan for us but are part of that plan. We always have time to do what God wants us to do” (p 127).
Remember, if you ever see a turtle on a fencepost, he did not get there by himself. We all need a little encouragement from time to time.