WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19
“And when he (Paul – a new Christian with reputation as persecutor of the church) had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord.”
Acts 9:22-28 (ESV)
ENCOURAGE BY GIVING
When Harry Truman was thrust into the presidency by the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Sam Rayburn took him aside. “From here on out, you’re going to have lots of people around you. They’ll try to put up a wall around you and cut you off from any ideas but theirs. They’ll tell you what a great man you are, Harry. But you and I both know you ain’t.” That wasn’t the best job of encouraging someone with your words.
WIlliam Ward said, “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you.” The Apostle Paul and the early church never forgot Barnabas because of his encouragement. Barnabas spoke up for the Apostle Paul when most everyone else feared, didn’t trust, and resented him because of his past. And the encouragement of Barnabas opened up great doors of opportunity for Paul to minister to others.
We all know that words are very powerful. As children we would recant, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” That simply isn’t true. Most of us can reflect on our childhood and remember people who crushed us with their words and people who greatly encouraged us with their words. Can you think of anyone who has recently encouraged you with their words? Can you think of anyone who you have recently encouraged with your words? Choose to find someone to intentionally encourage with your words today.