A certain woman liked going to a certain post office to purchase stamps because the postal workers were always so friendly to her. At Christmas time, when the post office was full of people waiting to mail packages, someone explained to her that she did not have to wait in line for stamps because there was a machine that sold stamps. “But” she said sweetly as she remained in line, “the machine doesn’t ask me about my arthritis.” The fellowship and encouragement were strengthening.

Brooks Hays told about a boy who was the largest in his class. Unfortunately, he also had the lowest I.Q. One day, when there were visitors in the class, the teacher said to him, “Otto, will you please raise the window?” As he went to do her bidding, she exclaimed, “I don’t know what I’d do without Otto. He’s the only boy in the class strong enough to raise that window.” Later, she confided to the visitors, “The window didn’t need to be raised, but Otto needed to be recognized.”[1] Feeling valued was encouraging.

When God directed, through the Holy Spirit (our Comforter), the writing of the Word is for our encouragement. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) The gift of encouragement was provided to many believers because God knew that the last days would be very difficult (Romans 12:6; Matthew 24; John 16:33). Believers need this even for their spiritual growth; “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13) This is why the scriptures say that we must not forsake the assembling together? “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25; NASU)

We need to learn how to control our tongue so that we use it for the edification of God’s people. “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29; NASU) The tongue encouraged the lady at the post office and the young boy. It is important to note that Christ says that each believer must give an account for every useless word (Matthew 12:36). So, it is obvious that God takes this very seriously.

Take a few moments to reach out to someone and encourage them. They may not say the right word in return or even accept what you say, but all it takes is one person to exercise their gift of the Holy Spirit to change one life one step at a time. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-19). 

[1]Cranford, Clarence W.: Cups of Light : And Other Illustrations. Willow Grove, PA : Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1988

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