Name an encourager from the Bible. Was your first thought Barnabas? His real name was Joseph, but the apostles nicknamed him “son of encouragement”. What a joy he must have been to his friends. Can you name some others who served as encouragers? How about Mordecai, Jonathan, Timothy, Martha and Mary, Jesus.
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…if it is to encourage, then give encouragement — Romans 12:6,8
Encouragers inspire hope, foster confidence, lift burdens, stimulate courage. Some possess the gift of encouragement. Some are “accidental encouragers” who surprise themselves when they’re given just the right word to share. Some want to be more encouraging, but are not sure how to go about it. But no one in the body of believers is exempt from exercising encouragement, for we are reminded to “encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11)
Turning to Scripture we find help for becoming an encourager:
1. Cultivate a positive attitude. Paul says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Put this into practice and “the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:8,9)
2. Use words of encouragement. Proverbs reminds us that our words can either kill or give life; we choose what we want to offer. (18:21) The book of Hebrews calls us to spur one another on. (10:25).
3. Be sincere. The book of James cautions us to back up our words with deeds (James 2:16). When we share stories of vulnerability and faith in times of hardship we can encourage others going through similar circumstances. (2 Cor 1:4)
4. Come alongside. When Moses became tired, “Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset… So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army” (Ex. 17:12-13) The New Testament names encouragers who worked alongside the apostles, such as Barnabas, Judas and Silas (Acts. 15:32) and Timothy (1 Thess. 3:2).
5. Be encouraged. Be humble and allow others to encourage you. Immerse yourself in Scripture’s words of encouragement. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you daily.
Karen Wilber serves as the Editor of the Jesus Boat Blog community.