“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
For some it may be contemptible to imagine there is a gift more highly prized than salvation. That may very well be the bone of contention. But this, the greatest of gifts given or received, is not in competition with salvation, but it complements it.
Is there anything more conducive to the essential mode of acceptance than encouragement? How good does it feel to have something we believe about ourselves from within confirmed about ourselves from another person? All of us believers exist for want of motivation, of inspiration, of encouragement to go on in life in the direction we believe God is leading us.
We all need to be accepted, and even for those who don’t care much about what other people think there is that need.
The greatest gift to be given or received is that gift of acceptance through the mode of encouragement; to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is someone loving enough to share a good, specific word through an authentic heart for the truth they see.
When we come to know this encouragement we come to realise that life is all about relationships.
Sowing into the Encouraging Life
Of course, it is our choice whether we will give or receive encouragement.
People may choose to encourage us and we may refuse to receive it, or we may bashfully reject it thinking we are not worthy. Likewise, we may not see much in others to encourage and, therefore, we may not have much time for giving encouragement.
There are people who have the gift of encouragement, but everyone is gifted enough to encourage.
The truth of the matter is this: the more we can receive others’ encouragement and the more we can encourage others in active ways, with authenticity, not just for flattery sake, the more abundant our experience of life is.
The more we immerse ourselves in encouragement—both ways—the more we will be blessed by God in transformations of relational value.
The more we encourage the more we receive encouragement, and the more we live the rich spiritual life that was always destined to be ours.
The greatest honour we have as people is to encourage others, just as it’s the greatest honour to be encouraged. There may not be a more profound and telling gift than encouraging someone, who, for that time and state of being, needs it.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.