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The Legacy of an Encourager

by J. M. Farro on December 6th, 2020

   “Encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 TPT  

   Last month, a cherished reader of mine died and went to be with the Lord.  I never met this sweet lady in person, but we had a spiritual bond that will last into eternity.  I know that I will see her in heaven, but the fact that I will never hear from her again here on earth has left me feeling heartbroken.  Her name was Cindy, and for more than 20 years, she encouraged me in my ministry work, and was a great blessing to me.  When I think about her, I can’t help but marvel at the tremendous impact someone can make simply by being an encourager. 

   Barnabas of the Bible was like that.  He was such an encourager that the disciples changed his name from Joseph to Barnabas, which means “son of encouragement.” (Acts 4:36)  Scripture says that he habitually “encouraged [believers] to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.”  It also describes him as “a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.”  And here’s the part that impresses me most – “and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” (Acts 11:23-24 NIV)  This man of God was responsible for bringing an untold number of people into the Kingdom, just by being an encourager.

   Scripture reveals that all Christians should be encouragers: “Encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 TPT)  Very often, it doesn’t take much to encourage a fellow believer.  Sometimes, all it will take is a brief email, text message, or phone call.  Sometimes, just an arm around someone’s shoulder, a kind word, or even just a listening ear will be enough to lift their spirits.  I’m convinced that if people knew the power of encouragement, they would put more effort into building others up.  God used Barnabas and my friend Cindy in mighty ways because they were encouragers.  Today, I encourage you to start building others up – and watch the Lord use you to build His Kingdom in extraordinary ways!

   Lord, teach me how to be the kind of encourager that You have called me to be.  Make me sensitive to the needs of those around me, and show me how to reach out to them with Your love and compassion.  Give me the right words at the right time to minister to those You put in my pathway.  Thank You that as I follow the leading of Your Spirit in this area, You will use me to touch and change lives for all eternity!

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