Summary: 1- Encouragement must be spoken 2- Encouragement deals with good news 3- Encouragement ultimately leads people to God
INTRO.- ILL.- Chuck Swindoll in his book Growing Deep in the Christian Life tells about a man getting ready to make an around-the-world voyage in his homemade boat. Without exception everyone on the pier was vocally pessimistic. Everyone was telling him everything that could possibly go wrong. “The sun will broil you.” “You won’t have enough food.” “That boat of yours won’t withstand any storms.” “You’ll never make it.”
A man standing nearby heard all these discouraging words and decided instead to offer some words of encouragement. As the little boat began pulling away from shore, he went to the end of the pier and began waving both his arms wildly and shouted, “BON VOYAGE! YOU’RE REALLY SOMETHING! WE’RE WITH YOU! WE’RE PROUD OF YOU! GOOD LUCK, BROTHER!”
This story is so similar to our lives. In a sense, all of us are in a little boat. We are on a long journey, not knowing if we are going to make it or not. And as we push out to sea, there are very few people who stand there giving us encouragement. Most are only critical or negative.
That’s a pretty sad commentary on life, but often, it’s very true for most of us. THERE ARE MANY DISCOURAGERS IN LIFE BUT FEW ENCOURAGERS!
Many people are better at discouraging others than encouraging them.
ILL.- One three-year study found that most school teachers were 75% negative and critical in dealing with their students. The study also indicated that it takes four positive comments to offset the effect of one negative or critical comment.
Now, brethren, there is also the other side of the coin.
ILL.- On June 1, 1965, a 13 1/2 foot boat slipped quietly out of the marina at Falmouth, MASS. Its destination was England. It would be the smallest boat ever to make the trip. Its name was TINKERBELLE. And its pilot was Robert Manry. He had been a copy editor for the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER for ten years and was bored, so he took a leave of absence to fulfill his secret dream.
Robert Manry was afraid, though not of the ocean. He was afraid of all those people who would try to talk him out of the trip. So he didn’t tell many people, just a few relatives and his wife, Virginia who was his greatest supporter and encourager.
The trip was anything but pleasant. He spent many sleepless nights trying to cross the shipping lanes without getting run down and sunk. Weeks at sea caused his food to become tasteless. Loneliness caused him to have hallucinations. His rudder broke three times.
Storms swept him overboard, and had it not been for the rope he had tied around his waist, he would never have made it back on board. Finally, after 78 days alone at sea, he sailed into England on August 17th.
During his many nights, he fantasized about what he would do once he arrived in England. He expected simply to check into a hotel, eat dinner alone, then the next morning see if the Associated Press might be interested in his story. But word of his approach had spread far and wide. To his amazement, three hundred vessels, with horns blasting, escorted TINKERBELLE into port. And 40,000 people stood screaming and cheering him to shore.