Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
I want to grow as an encourager. I want to be like Doug, a man in our church, who has the gift of encouragement. Every time I talk with him, he has this uncanny way of turning every conversation into an encouragement of me session. For example, “Hey Doug, thanks for all the good ideas you brought to the meeting last night.” Doug: “I only did that because I was trying to imitate you. You have so many great ideas. You’re so innovative and always bring a creative perspective to any conversation. And you’re such a great husband and dad. And the way you love your dogs so inspires me. And when you’re doodling in our meetings, I know you aren’t bored, you’re creating great works of art!”
Well, Doug isn’t really over the top, but he does consistently encourage everyone he interacts with. I want to be like Doug.
So here are some reflections on ways to encourage others that I have observed in Doug and many others:
1. Point out how you see God working in their life. Tell them how you can see they have changed over the last six months, year or five years. “You know, a year ago you would have responded in anger. But today you were patient and gentle.”
2. Tell them you are praying for them – and be sure to do that.
3. Point out any ways they encourage you. “Thank you for sharing that scripture this morning. It really helped me.”
4. Share an encouraging scripture with them. “I’m sure you know this, but none of your labor in the Lord is vain. Someday you’ll be rewarded for what you’re doing right now.”
5. Encourage them that God is for them and will be faithful to them
6. Tell them what you appreciate/respect/like/enjoy about them. Thank them for ways they inspire you. Point out good qualities they have.
7. Appreciate and thank them for any ways they serve.
8. Encourage them for any effort you see them making in the right direction.
9. Encourage them not to give up. “God is going to come through for you. He will surely reward your faithfulness. Someday this will all be worth it when you are standing before God in heaven and he says to you, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.’ ”
10. Thank them for their example to you. “Thank you for being an example to me of faithfulness to your husband through thick and thin.” “Thank you for your example to me of trusting God in affliction.”
11. Commend them for any job well done.
12. Share with them how you see them glorifying God. “You know, to forgive your brother for the way he hurt you is so pleasing to God.”
13. Encourage them for any gifts or talents they have. Thank them for ways their gifts have blessed you.
14. Point out the fruit of the Spirit you see in their life. “I appreciate how consistently joyful you are.”
15. Remind them that they have a sympathetic and compassionate great high priest who intercedes for them.
Send them a note. Fire off an email. Give them a quick call on your commute home. Text them. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Sometimes, “Great job!” is all you need to say.
Tell them why you’re glad you get to work with them. Tell them why you’re glad God brought them to your church. Tell them why you’re glad they are your child (assuming they are your child). Husbands, thank your wives for anything and everything they do for you.