Reverend Rob: Everyone needs encouragementBy Reverend Rob Beardsley
June 26, 2012
Today I want to talk briefly about something everybody needs but is usually in very short supply….encouragement.
We all know that it is something we need yet in the back of our minds we are suspicious of the art of encouragement as if it were admitting to a vain streak in the human condition. It is no such thing.
Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. It is like ice-cream in the Sahara. It is like sunshine after rain. For want of it millions of lives are spent in weary drudgery, going around in ever flagging circles.
The school child puts more effort into their sums or spelling after the teacher tells them that they’re trying really hard. A teenage girl is visibly lifted in spirit when one day, out of the blue, her father says that he is proud of her. Watch that wife walk with an extra spring in her step after her husband surprises her with a bunch of flowers or an unexpected act of kindness. An elderly person finds that the day is not so long when a young person takes time to ask them how they’re doing.
An American called Mr. Wright gave his two boys Wilbur and Orville a toy flying machine to play with. The world got jet propelled flight. Thomas Edison, friendless and in debt, walked into a building belonging to a telegraph company just as the telegraph stoppped working. He was the only one who could put it right and the people there encouraged him to stay. The world recorded sound and got the electric light bulb.
Let us never underestimate the power of encouragement.
We must be looking constantly for ways we can encourage the people around us, whether we live, work or play alongside them. Think of how we oursleves long to be encouraged and how we love it when people do it to us.
Some of the people who have encouraged me most in my ministry and leadership have been those who, on the surface, have the least to contribute to church-life.
One elderly lady in her late eighties once said to me "Rob, I can’t do much in the church these days apart from baking a few cakes and praying for you".
I said "I think that’s plenty. If everyone was as encouraging as you, my role in the church would be so much easier and the church would be stronger than it is."
Sometimes we can leave it until its too late to encourage someone. Sometimes we like to pay tribute to people when they’ve ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’ .
We like to pay repsects and show our appreciation to people who have meant a lot to us when they were alive. The question is….did we actually tell them when they were still with us?
I once read a book that contained the following verse that we would do well to heed and respond to as we go about our daily lives.
If with pleasure you are viewing,
Any work a man is doing,
If you like him or you love him, tell him now,
Don’t withold your approbation,
Till the Parson makes oration
And he lies with snow white lillies on his brow,
For no matter how you shout it,
He won’t really care about it,
He won’t know how many teardrops you have shed.
If you think some praise is due him,
Now’s the time to slip it to him,
For he cannot read his tomb stone when he’s dead.
More than fame and more than money,
Is the comment kind and sunny,
And the hearty warm approval of a friend,
For it gives to life a savour,
And it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end,
If he earns your praise – bestow it,
If you like him – let him know it,
Let the words of true encouragement be said,
Do not wait till life is over ,
And he’s underneath the clover,
For he cannot read his tomb sone when he’s dead.