I have been blessed with a lot of good training in my Christian life. I have been mentored by some of the best “encouragers” in the world. And one of the primary lessons I have been taught had to do with action versus words. A great encourager doesn’t just listen or even just pray (as incredibly important as that is!). No, a great encourager puts hands and feet into the equation.
Let me illustrate. A friend of mine just emailed me. Apparently she has to have some minor surgery done (I ask you though, is surgery ever really “minor”?). Anyway, under my usual “modus operandi” I would listen intently and then promise to be in prayer for her. I might even make a note of the exact time of her surgery and pray while she was “under the knife.” But I have come to understand that that isn’t enough!
You see, over the years I have been watching some of God’s “professional encouragers”. These spiritual giants do listen warmly and pray intensely, but they do more! These godly encouragers find some way to be a practical blessing.
In the past, I have been on the receiving end from some of these great “blessers”. When I was sick, they didn’t ask me if they could do anything around the house, they just showed up with a bucket and mop and got the job done. They didn’t offer to babysit “sometime,” they just kidnapped my goddaughter from school and gave me an evening off. They didn’t wonder if shopping for me would help, they just unloaded a bunch of groceries into my refrigerator and then headed home.
So in the spirit of what I have been taught, I responded to my friend’s email by asking what time they usually have dinner. I declared I would be over on surgery day with a meal. I didn’t ask for permission, I just asserted that a blessing was coming.
I am learning…not to just say something kind or helpful. I am learning to do something to make a difference. Isn’t that one of the things Jesus was emphasizing with Peter in John 21?
“…Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, do you love me? He said, yes Lord, you know all things, you know I love you. Jesus (then) said, FEED my sheep” (verse 17).
Don’t just say helpful things this week, DO SOMETHING to encourage someone!