The Power of Encouragement
Café Menu for Thursday, February 11, 2016
Today’s Special is: Bold Encouragers Change Lives
Carefully prepared just for you by your friend, Sharie King
When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus. So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
Acts 9:26-28 NIV
My son’s soccer coach approached me at practice, “Do you think Joseph could play goalie? He’s fearless and has the potential to be a good leader,” I knew Joseph’s character fit the bill, but I also knew this position could either set him up for great success or defeat. After a lot of questions and much consideration, Joseph took the position.
I was nervous, but he handled the goalie well during the regular season. Then came the tournament game. It ended in a tie, went into overtime followed one round of penalty kicks.
When I heard the game would end with sudden death penalty kicks, I reached for one of those motion-sickness bags they keep on a plane. They would now alternate shooting on goal from point blank range until one team scored and the other missed. The first team to get ahead, would win!
Poor Joseph. I hope he doesn’t cry from nervousness.
I encouraged him from the sideline, “Shake it out baby! Take it a goal at a time.”
He hopped from foot to foot until the shot was taken and he dove for the winning save! My hero! But before Joseph hugged me or any of his teammates, he gave the other goalie a high-five and said, “You’re a great goalie man. Good job.” On the way home, he said, “Mama, I bet it was discouraging for that goalie to miss the ball. I just had to tell him he’d done a good job.”
I was afraid goalie would defeat Joseph’s confidence, but Jesus used it to make him a compassionate and encouraging leader.
Paul ministered for a time near Damascus after his conversion. He boldly preached Jesus and earned the respect of the disciples in that area but when he reached Jerusalem, the disciples were afraid he might still be a persecutor, a killer of Christians.
But Barnabas chose to trust Paul and brought him to the disciples. Why did the disciples trust Barnabas? Perhaps he had encouraged them when they were down or defeated. Perhaps Barnabas’ willingness to live out Hebrews 10:24,
let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
convicted the disciples. (NIV)
Whatever the reason, Barnabas resolved to stand beside Paul not only opened the door to his ministry, but also to the effectiveness of the church.
It takes courage to encourage. It’s not easy to put aside our fear for the sake of someone’s feelings. Joseph’s compassion for the opposing goalie reminded me of Barnabas’ love for Paul; who was once an opponent to Christ, but became one of the most faith-filled men our world has ever seen.
Who is the Lord asking you to encourage today? Be strong and courageous and reach out! (Joshua 1:9). Who knows how Jesus will use your simple words in someone’s life.
Jesus, help me to overcome my own fears and doubt or feelings of neglect and competition, which prevent me from encouraging others. I want to use my words to stand beside others and encourage them in their walk with You.
© 2016 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Thursday, 11 February 2016.