I was at one of my son’s football games a few years ago and he was having a great Senior year in football and was looking to get a scholarship to play Division 1 Football. A lot of things in his life were revolving around this huge task, and he had to be sold out to do it. It took extra effort, a great amount of focus, and his desire to achieve the goal was almost more than we all could handle. But, Praise God, he landed a full scholarship at a Div.1 school and his dream was realized. I constantly encouraged him to “stay with it, don’t give up.” The encouragement helped him weather every storm and God blessed the efforts he made. During that Senior Year I got to be around a lot of the players on his team and I noticed something that almost escaped my gaze. I began to go to different players one on one and tell them how good they were doing and how impressed I was with their effort. I also told some of the guys, they were going to go far and couldn’t almost believe the result. Guys who usually put out a fairly good effort in practice and in the game, started putting out an extraordinary amount of effort to prove what I was saying was right. In particular there were three guys (not counting my son) that I made a concentrated effort to encourage. Each one of those guys gave more effort after a little bit of continued encouragement, than they had ever done before. Another amazing thing happened as a result of me encouraging them. They would just come up and sit beside me after practice or before the prayer at game time. At first I kind of thought they were mocking me (cynical me) but I realized they felt a connection with me because I took the time to notice and comment in an encouraging way. I’ll never forget the change I saw and it taught a real good lesson to me about how God can use encouragement to challenge us to greatness. You may not believe this, but saying “You can do it!” really makes an impact when it is sincere and heartfelt.
The lesson I learned has to be relearned many times because I am selfish and my selfishness gets in the way of God using my life for His purposes. I have to watch myself on a regular basis, because I will tire of encouraging others and even think, “I wish someone would encourage me.” Then I realize……it’s not about me. It’s about HIM and everything gets back in place. In Romans 15:4 it says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The hope I wrote about yesterday is directly connected to the encouragement of God’s Word and God’s Word is connected to God. We must begin to live a life of encouragement and see God’s People come out of the slumber of apathy, and once again come alive. In verse 5 Paul goes on to say, “May the God who gives us endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In true encouragement we find true unity. WOW!!
Let’s be found encouraging each other to follow God and use the gifts and talents He has given us for His Glory.
The Pilgrimage continues…..