24. Encouragement

One of the heroes of the New Testament is a man known as Barnabas. He was originally named Joseph, but the apostles gave him the nickname Barnabas, which means "son of encouragement" or "son of consolation" (Acts 4:36). He earned this nickname because of his generous spirit and his willingness to encourage and support others, especially new converts to the faith.

We find one example of Barnabas's encouragement in the book of Acts (see Acts 9:26-27). The newly-converted Paul was trying to join the disciples in Jerusalem, but they feared him because of his past as a persecutor of Christians. Barnabas, however, vouched for Paul and convinced the other disciples to accept him.

Although Scripture says that it is a gift that some of us receive in abundance — like prophesying, serving, and teaching (see Romans 12:6-8) — it is a gift we all need to exercise. We all need to be sons and daughters of encouragement. How can we cultivate this gift? Here are a few simple tips.

One, practice empathy. To encourage others, we need to understand their perspectives and feelings. Practicing empathy means putting ourselves in someone else's shoes and trying to see the situation from their point of view. This helps us to respond with kindness and support.

Two, listen actively and speak positively. Encouragement often involves being a good listener. When someone is going through a difficult time, listening to them without judgment or interruption can be helpful. Active listening involves giving our full attention to the person speaking, asking clarifying questions, and reflecting on what we hear. When we respond, we should use positive language that focuses on their strengths and potential rather than their weaknesses or failures. This helps to build confidence and motivation.

Three, look for strengths. Encouragement often involves helping others to see their strengths and potential. We can cultivate this by looking for positive qualities in others and pointing them out when we see them. This helps to build confidence and self-esteem.

Four, be there for people. Encouragement can be as simple as being there for someone going through a tough time. Being present means showing up and offering support in whatever way we can, whether through a kind word, a helping hand, or simply being there to listen.

Five, pray for guidance: Ultimately, the gift of encouragement comes from God. We can ask him to guide us in our efforts to encourage others and to give us the wisdom and compassion we need to do so effectively.

So, let us choose encouragement today, lifting each other up and spurring one another on. God bless you.

More in this category: « 23. Peace 25. To Imitate Christ »
Click here for the extended "LIVE" versions:
1. Abundant Life
2. Perseverance
3. Humility
4. Rest
5. To Abide
6. To Wait
7. To Look Ahead
8. Light
9. Grace
10. Contentment
11. Love
12. Repentance
13. To Forgive
14. To Surrender
15. Joy
16. Faith
17. Discipline
18. Hope
19. Freedom
20. Gratitude
21. To Listen
22. Truth
23. Peace
24. Encouragement
25. To Imitate Christ
26. Friendship
27. Unity
28. To Remember
29. Conversion
30. Generosity
31. Revival
32. Integrity
33. Excellence
34. To Serve
35. Tongue Control
36. Courage
37. Wisdom
38. Purity
39. Stewardship
40. To Evangelize
Choice 01 — I Choose Abundant Life
Choice 01 — I Choose Abundant Life
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose the *Abundant Life*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichooseabundantlife
Transcript
Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal Read More
Choice 02: I Choose Perseverance
Choice 02: I Choose Perseverance
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Perseverance*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit : https://bit.ly/ichooseperseverance
Transcript
One day Jesus told his disciples a parable to show Read More
Choice 03: I Choose Humility
Choice 03: I Choose Humility
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Humility*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosehumility
Transcript
One day when Jesus was dining with a group of Read More
Choice 04: I Choose Rest
Choice 04: I Choose Rest
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *To Rest*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichooserest
Transcript
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary Read More
Choice 05: I Choose to Abide
Choice 05: I Choose to Abide
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *To Abide*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosetoabide
Transcript
One of the loveliest pictures Jesus painted is the one Read More
Choice 06: I Choose to Wait
Choice 06: I Choose to Wait
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose to *Wait*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an expanded 30-minute live version of this reflection, please visit: https://bit.ly/ichoosetowait
Transcript
One of my favorite passages of Scripture — I have Read More
Choice 07: I Choose to Look Ahead
Choice 07: I Choose to Look Ahead
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose to *Look Ahead*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichoosetolookahead.
Transcript
Disappointments are a part of life. So is failure. So, also Read More
Choice 08: I Choose Light
Choice 08: I Choose Light
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Light*. Please share the video and bless others.
To watch an *expanded 30-minute live version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichooselight.
Transcript
Have you ever had to navigate a room in the darkness? Read More
Choice 09: I Choose Grace
Choice 09: I Choose Grace
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Grace*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute version* of this reflection, please https://bit.ly/ichoosegrace.
Transcript
John Bradford was an English Reformer who lived in the 16th century. One day Read More
Choice 10: I Choose Contentment
Choice 10: I Choose Contentment
Today, in our series on *40 Choices*, we choose *Contentment*. Please share the video and bless others. 
To watch an *expanded 30-minute version* of this reflection, please visit https://bit.ly/ichoosecontentment.
Transcript
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote: "I know what it is Read More

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