One of the qualities I most admire in others is the gift of quiet, behind-the-scenes encouragement. I remember arriving home from a stay in the hospital and finding that my friend Jackie (who had surgery a few days earlier) sent me a book of God’s promises. My Uncle Bob was so thankful for the people who cared for him at the cancer center that he sent hundreds of complimentary notes to their work supervisors. My cousin Brenda experienced the agonizing loss of a child almost 20 years ago, and now her quiet deeds of compassion are treasured by many. Often it is the very people who have experienced the most suffering—physical and emotional—who are the most abundant providers of encouragement to others. In Acts, we read about Barnabas, who was known as the “Son of Encouragement” (4:36). He was “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (11:24) and encouraged others so “that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord” (v.23). His acts of encouragement must have had a wide and strong sphere of influence.
Just as we have been blessed with encouragement, let’s be a modern-day Daughter or Son of Encouragement to others.
Teach me to love—this is my plea;
May all the Spirit’s graces shine through me;
Tear from my heart all hate, foolish pride;
Help me to live like Christ the crucified. —Peterson
The human spirit rings with hope at the sound of an encouraging word.
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