March 6, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40
When I was a boy, our scoutmaster told us about the characteristics of a rope. Rope is made strong by the fabric that's used, even stronger by the number of corded, interwoven strands. What a beautiful picture of the corded strands of support God provides for our spiritual journey. He has provided His word, the Holy Spirit, His promises, His faithfulness, the magnitude of His majesty, the fellowship of believers, access into His presence by prayer, and many more. When woven together, they give us His divine strength.
One of the corded strands we often neglect is being AN ENCOURAGER to others. People all around us are hurting, fearful, without friends, and many are without hope. They do not know how to pray or trust the Lord in their discouraging dilemmas. You say, "Well, how does that affect me?" One of the great needs among Christians is to be sensitive to the needs of others, to have an open heart ready to respond to those in difficult situations. We need to encourage others with a heart of love and let them know we care. God said, "I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me, but I found none" (Ezekiel 22:30). We need to make ourselves available to stand in the gap, to have an ear to listen to heartaches, to have a spirit to respond and communicate to others, so they will know we are ready to reach out to them in sincere godly love. To be used by the Lord in this way could turn their lives around with new hope, determination, and perseverance.
How should we respond to people that are not pleasant to us, or not of our choosing? Do we respond to the prompting of His love that seeks to care and comfort, to strengthen and encourage them in their need? Are we willing to give unto others the hand of assurance, or a heart of love, which will lift their life from despair to hope, from discouragement to renewed strength, from loneliness to the joy of knowing that God loves them and cares for them?
Michael Green, in his book "1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching," tells a striking story of Benjamin West. When West was a young boy, he decided to paint a picture of his sister while his mother was away from home. He lined up his assorted colors of paint and started. Soon he had an awful mess of paint that had made its way everywhere but on the picture. His mother eventually returned and saw the awful mess he had created. Instead of scolding him, she picked up the portrait and said, "What a beautiful portrait of your sister!" Then she kissed him.
Later in life, when Michael Green had gained success and international fame as an artist, he spoke before a large, distinguished audience that had gathered to honor him. At the close of his address, he reflected upon this experience and said, "With that kiss and word of encouragement, I became an artist." It was the encouragement of wisdom and an act of love that was the turning point that gave motivation, perseverance, and determination to maximize his gift and ability.
Let us buy up every opportunity as an occasion to manifest His love and to encourage someone in desperate need! You may be the only one sent to encourage him!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-03-06
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