Encouragement is powerful! It has the ability to change courses and emotions. It has the power to fill someone with courage and boldness so that they may say yes to the plans that God may have in store for them, with just a little bit of encouragement, that goes a long way! Encouragement is truly a gift we’ve been given for edifying each other. We are meant to encourage one another. The Bible makes it clear that as brothers and sisters in Christ, we are meant to both give and receive encouragement. Hebrews 10:23-25 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Have you ever thought about how you could change the day of a complete stranger with just a few kind words? Jesus knew the power of encouragement. He loved to use the tool of encouragement to direct his disciples into the life God intended for them. Jesus spoke life into the people he encountered. He encouraged the outcasts, the downhearted, the needy. A perfect example of the power of encouragement can be found in the story of Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:1-10 says this, “He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way.
And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'”
Jesus encouraged an outcast tax collector and changed the direction of his life. He simply told Zacchaeus that he wanted to spend some time with him and Jesus followed through with that commitment.
By doing so the entire town was blessed. Zacchaeus had gotten his income and because rich, through overtaxing his fellow Jews for the benefit of Rome and himself. He was cast out from society and hated by those around him. Jesus, to the dismay of all the others, encouraged Zacchaeus, by being willing to spend time with him and friend, it changed his life!
Today sweet friend, you can live like Jesus as well. Who needs an encouraging word from you? Who needs to be encouraged by you simply wanting to spend some time with them? There’s grace on your life to minister to the hurting and lonely around you. There’s grace to minister like Jesus. Walk in a relationship with Him, live in the knowledge that you are fully loved, and love others through the power of encouragement.
The Bible makes it clear that the tongue wields incredible power. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” Choose to speak life today. Choose to honor those around you by having friendships instead of being so quick to point out their sin.
The Holy Spirit will take care to convict them of their sin, as He does your own, that you can count on. Our Job is spread the good news by our love for one another both in Word and deed. Choose to see the grace God has placed in people around you, to see past the façade and tough exterior people put up and speak to the heart. God intends for you to both give and receive encouragement. Who will you speak life into today?