DISCOURAGER OR ENCOURAGER
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Sunday, July 28, 2002
In the book "Growing Deep in the Christian life", there’s a great story explaining how we face opposition. It 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 burn 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! Youre really something! Were with you! Were proud of you! Good luck, brother!
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!
We live in a world where people are finding themselves being put down, rejected and held back in so many ways.
It’s easy to laugh at men’s ideals;
It’s easy to pour cold water on their enthusiasm;
It’s easy to discourage others.
One of the church’s ministries, is encouragement. We have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Many a time a word of praise or thanks or appreciation or cheer has kept a man on his feet.
The power of Encouragement.
1 Thess 5:11 NIV
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing".
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)
"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
Mark Twain said: "I can live for two months on a good compliment."
From a National Institute Mental Health Report
Many of our daily conversations are actually mutual counseling sessions whereby we exchange the reassurance and advice that help us deal with routine stresses.
For every critical comment we receive, it takes nine affirming comments to even out the negative effect in our life. Jim Burns
A great example how encouragement made a difference.
ILL.- On May 24, 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 copyeditor 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 Falmouth, England.
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.
Robert Manry became an overnight hero. And his story has been told around the world. BUT ROBERT MANRY COULDN¡¦T HAVE DONE IT ALONE! Standing on the dock was an even greater hero, his wife Virginia.
She had refused to be critical and negative about her husband’s trip.
She gave him constant encouragement which enabled him to pursue and complete his dream!
The world needs a whole lot more people just like Virginia Manry! Both men and women alike who will give others the needed encouragement for life and it’s obstacles!
Consider the role of an encourager in church history.
1. A great encourager in the word of God was Paul. (especially concerning Timothy)
2. Paul was accepted by the early church because of a great encourager: Barnabas
"When [Barnabas] arrived and saw this proof of God’s favor, he was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord. Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And large numbers of people were brought to the Lord"
What do we know about Barnabas? (Acts 4:34-37).
Barnabas had a mild and gentle disposition
Barnabas life was a mode of encouragement for every Christian.
Barnabas was rightly called, the Son of Encouragement because he knew how to inspire people toward greatness.
Barnabas Possessed land, he generously disposed of it for the benefit of the Christian community and laid the money at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37). As this transaction occurred soon after the Day of Pentecost, he must have been an early convert to Christianity.
Spiritual Lessons from Barnabas
There’s one in every crowd! Barnabas was known and loved in the Jerusalem church as "Son of Encouragement" (4:36). He used to the full his spiritual gift of encouraging others (Rom 12:6-8; 2 Tim 1:6).
Sometimes the greatest blessing one believer can give another is to give him or her the benefit of the doubt.
Barnabas stood beside Paul.
Barnabas stood beside John Mark.
Barnabas encouraged the local church (acts 11:19-26).
Faithfulness, like charity, begins at home. After Barnabas had proven himself in his home church (Jerusalem, 4:36-37), God used him in many churches (see 11:22-26; 13:5-6, 14; 14:1, 6).
1. The church will never have a shortage of people who want to be its Paul’s!
2. Are you willing to be its Barnabas?
How to be a encourager
People will only allow themselves to be helped, when they know that we love them and encourage them.
People don’t care what we know, until they know how much we care about them.
1. An understanding heart; that sees into the hearts of people.
And sees their strengths and weaknesses,
And sees their hopes and their despairs,
And sees their efforts and their failures,
And their need of love.
2. Touch them, comfort them and assure them.
3. Brightening their life with unconditional love, grace and blessings.
God expects us to share our abundance with those who have less. The poor, orphans, and widows are symbolic of many who have less than we and need our help.