Posts Tagged encourage

Everyone Needs Encouragement –

Wednesday August 17, 2022

Organization: Alliance for Christian Media
Denomination: n/a

“Everyone needs encouragement.” My friend, Dr. Monty Knight, said as we rode to lunch. Dr. Arthur Caliandro, late pastor of Marble Collegiate Church, said, “Be kinder than you think it necessary to be. The other person needs it more than you know.” The Bible says, “Encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing” 1Thessalonians 5: 11. (NIV)

Our families, friends and neighbors are hurting. They are struggling. After two years of the Coved virus, isolation, the difficulty of obtaining supplies, school and drive-by shootings and now inflation have converged to take the fight out of so many.

The divisive political climate has had a negative effect on our trust in some of our most cherished institutions. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe vs. Wade has only added fuel to the fire. We must find a way to lift each other up.

Decades ago when I was a senior in high school, I was walking home from school. A prominent woman in our small town stopped her car beside me and said, “I like your poem in the school paper today.” Here was encouragement from an unexpected source. Obviously it had an important influence on my life because I remember it all these years later. She could have driven on by, but she didn’t. She stopped and encouraged a young boy.

We never know how far our words will go or the power they carry. For many years I wrote a weekly blog, “Thankful Thursday.” Each week I featured a person for whom I was grateful and encouraged others to thank those who are important to her or him. I could not have predicted the impact. Over and over again the subject of one of those blogs contacted me to say, “How could you have known how badly I needed your words of encouragement?”

Just this morning a sales associate of a major company across the country from me said. “I have had a good day. I haven’t encountered a rude or mean customer all morning.” How sad when we remember the days when someone was not mean or rude to us. Sixty years ago, a priest told my friend that her prayer of confession was unacceptable because, “You forgot the right way to end your prayer.” It was years before she returned to the confessional booth.

Closer to home, my late wife was discouraged from an art career by a father who said, “That’s a hobby not a profession.” She longed for words of encouragement from the minister father she idolized, but they never came. Consequently she would not tell you about her paintings unless you knew to ask. She was the most talented person I have known. I was reminded of her story this week’ There is an art show in my building. All the artists are senior citizens. A retired dentist said to me, “I never told anyone about my paintings. I thought I was not good enough. It is something I did after I got home from the office at night.” His work is magnificent.

In 2002 Marlo Thomas released a wonderful book, The Right Word at the Right Time, in which she recounts the stories of 101 people who were encouraged or discouraged by the words spoken to them. Muhammad Ali was told by his elementary school teacher, “You ain’t never gonna be nuthin’.” What a terrible thing to say to a child.

My second wife grew up under the most horrific circumstances with constant discouragement from her parents. Her seventh grade teacher, in contrast to the one Ali had, took notice of her work and determination. One day she announced to the class, “Carol is going to be a teacher.” That is all the encouragement Carol needed. She retired after 28 years as a very successful teacher. She had three completely new computer labs during her career. She is the only person I know who received more money in a grant than she requested. Scores of young people have a better chance of success because a 7th grade teacher encouraged Carol to become a teacher.

The scriptures are right. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
– Proverbs 25: 11-13.

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Where’s Barnabas? : Doyle Sager: Baptists News


It is impossible to measure the positive impact we can have when we develop the habit of encouragement.

By Doyle Sager

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Christmas Vacation has Clark Griswold standing in his front yard with wife, children, parents and in-laws. They are shivering in the December cold, admiring the gaudy but brilliant Christmas lights which Clark has just strung all over the house. But this light display has come at great cost. He has had many disappointments with dead bulbs and tangled wires. He has fallen off his ladder and worked late into the night while others were nestled in their beds. But finally, the lights are on! And yet, at this moment of pride and accomplishment, the only words which come from his father-in-law? “The little lights aren’t twinkling, Clark.” Ugh! What a kick in the gut!

Perhaps you feel like Clark Griswold. You work hard on a project and all you get is criticism. You labor lovingly to prepare a meal and your thanks is, “The roast seems a little tough.” You preach or teach your heart out and the only feedback you receive is, “You don’t mention the Holy Spirit often enough.”

Have you noticed how criticism and a negative spirit can virtually suck the energy out of a meeting, a conversation or a relationship? Have you taken the time to tally social media to see whether there are more encouraging or discouraging posts? (Don’t do it; I don’t want you to be discouraged!)

For those who follow the Christian calendar, June 11 is St. Barnabas’ Day. Acts 4:36 introduces us to this man, whose given name is Joseph. But the early church gave him the name Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” This begs the question: If I allowed my church to bestow a descriptive moniker on me, what would it be? Mr. Grouchy? Rev. Always Right? Dr. Sad Sack? Mr. Negative?

Barnabas lived up to his name. In Acts 9, when Saul of Tarsus, a new convert to the Jesus Way, was having difficulty getting anyone to believe him or give him the time of day, it was Barnabas who intervened and used his considerable influence to welcome Saul. Barnabas saw the Saul-Paul glass as half-full, not half-empty and said to the church leaders, “Let’s take a chance on this guy. Something tells me he has potential.” How different would Christian history have been if Mr. Encourager had not stepped up.

Here’s the simple truth: It is impossible to measure the positive impact we can have when we develop the habit of encouragement. Many years ago, I attended a pastors conference and had braced myself for the usual fare — lots of bragging sermons about how the speakers were doing it right and I was doing it wrong (whatever “it” was). I was prepared to feel both guilty and inadequate.

Instead, a very successful pastor preached a sermon of encouragement. The message was in the indicative, not the imperative (I was loved and valued vs. I ought to be doing this or that). I went away lifted and refreshed, framing my many weaknesses in the larger truths of God’s provision and power. That sermon was delivered 25 years ago, and it is still nourishing my spirit.

If we’re all so starved for encouragement, why is it in such short supply? Where’s Barnabas when we need him? Sad to say, the secular world sometimes has a better grip on encouragement than the church does. In business and industry, a relatively new model for strategy planning has emerged called Appreciative Inquiry. AI begins with what is right in the organization, using strengths to leverage problem areas, thus keeping the visioning process from veering off into quick fixes or discouraging self-deprecation.

In yet another area, the mental health field offers “positive psychology” as an approach, not as a replacement for other emphases, but to augment them. Researchers have discovered that human beings are more drawn to the future than driven by the past. We more naturally grow by building on our virtues, positive experiences and pleasant memories.

May I offer a modest proposal? Let’s begin to cultivate a reputation for encouraging others. Wouldn’t it be great if someone would give me the nickname Encourager? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful word on my gravestone someday? Perhaps we could all begin June 11, on Barnabas’ day. I challenge you to spend that entire day encouraging others — in person, by way of handwritten notes, over the phone or through social media. Don’t let a discouraging word come from your lips all day long!

Here’s hoping Barnabas shows up at your place — and mine — on June 11. And here’s hoping he stays awhile.

Doyle Sager is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jefferson City, Mo.


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A Firm Foundation

This is the second of the devotionals published by First Baptist Church of Charleston for Say Something Nice Sunday. The month of June is Effective Communication Month.
Scripture Focus:
“… I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded He is able
to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”
— 2 Timothy 1:12
I grew up in a small mill village church surrounded by people
who loved me and wanted the very best for me. I participated
in every phase of church life. As a teenager, I sometimes was
the speaker. Over the years since I have visited churches and
cathedrals grand and small both in America and Europe. I have
experienced interpretations of the Bible that in my youth would
have been unthinkable and certainly unacceptable. These
experiences have provided richness to the Text and nuances
to its meaning; however, the basic tenants of the faith were so
soundly taught and lived before me that I am forever grateful to
that small congregation.
Those wonderful people encouraged my every faltering step.
They were quick to praise. They nourished their young people
in ways I have not experienced since. Questions didn’t seem to
bother them. These folks worked hard in the cotton mill every
day, but when Sunday came, they were in church praising God.
They certainly did not have much money, but they had generous
spirits. They loved to sing the old hymns and never grew tired of
their favorites. They did not allow the workplace relationships
with bosses to intrude on Sunday worship. At church every one
was equal. It was such a wonderful experience in my young life
that it has grounded me for all the years that followed.
The instruction and inspiration that I gained here has sustained
me through the shattering times in my life. I can still feel the
collective protective arms of that small church around me. They
taught me what love is and what Jesus loves means.
Prayer Focus:
Dear God, I am thankful to you for the church of my youth and
for those who set my feet on solid ground. Amen.

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Fifty-Two Keys for Living, Loving and Working


Be an encourager. All of us need a word of encouragement. Often a smile or a kind word is all that is required. It is impossible to measure the impact of a word spoken or an act of kindness at the right time. All of us need encouragement. Every person you meet is struggling with something. You may never know what it is nor do you need to know. If the person is breathing, there is some struggle taking place. A kind word costs absolutely nothing, but the rewards keep multiplying. Be sincere.  Be thoughtful. Sometimes just your presence is all that is needed. A note of encouragement works wonders. It can be read and reread. It will be kept. Reach for the telephone and call someone with a word of encouragement – now. You will be glad that you did.

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