First Question: How many times (roughly, but estimating an average) do you think you could use some encouragement in a given month, considering your financial, health, family, work or other problems? Answer: I don’t know about you, but I’d say a bit of friendly encouragement might certainly help once or twice a month – and I’m very fortunate not to have too many major problems at this point.
Second Question: How many times, on average, do you think you encourage others in a given month? Answer: Oops! I have to admit that if I don’t actively think about it, it might not be often – and if everyone around me could use some encouragement once or twice a month (doubtless there are others who could use a good bit more), that is quite a deficit.
Some people are upbeat and encouraging by nature. Acts 4:36 mentions Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas - or “son of encouragement.” We aren’t given further details, but if you know a man or woman like Barnabas, you know what a difference such an individual can make in our daily lives.
Romans 12:8 shows that some people, like Barnabas, have this trait in large measure: “[If your gift is] to encourage, then give encouragement.” So although most of us may have to work at developing this trait, encouragement is also one of the gifts of the Spirit of God (I Corinthians 12:4-11, 13:4-7) that we can claim in faith, as we see in this week’s article “Encouragement in the Faith.” We encourage you to take a look ….