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How To Be An Encourager

God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.
–1 Corinthians 1:27

If we are going to survive in this hostile world, we all need a Barnabas, somebody who will come alongside us and encourage us. I am grateful to so many people who have helped me, but especially Dr. W. A. Criswell, my predecessor at First Baptist Dallas. When I was twenty-two years old, he invited me on staff as an intern. Four weeks later, the youth minister left, and Dr. Criswell wanted me to take his place. But some of the youth leaders weren’t so sure. Dr. Criswell met with them, and I had my ear up against the door. They were saying, “He is so young. He doesn’t have any experience.” Then Dr. Criswell said, “If you don’t want Robert, that’s fine. I’ll hire him as my associate to run this entire church.” All of a sudden the leaders changed their tune. “If you think that much of him,” they said, “then yes, we want him.” Dr. Criswell walked out of the room, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Son, it’s all yours. Just don’t let me down.” He took a chance on me for no reason whatsoever. I bet you have somebody like that in your life. Be sure to thank those people who have helped and mentored you, but also recognize your responsibility to be somebody else’s encourager.

How do you go about that? First of all, value other people. See them as God sees them. Everybody is important to God. I love these words of C. S. Lewis: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal, and their life is to ours like the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit.” Everybody you encounter is an immortal soul. Doesn’t that make you look at other people differently?

Second, champion the underdog. You may remember the kid on the playground in elementary school who was always the last to be picked for a team. Maybe you were that kid. Maybe you know the pain of loneliness or rejection. Champion the underdog, because God does. In 1 Corinthians 1:27, Paul wrote, “God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” So many times in the Bible, God chose to bless the younger brother over the older brother. God chose the tiny nation of Israel to be His chosen nation rather than a great empire like Assyria, Babylon, or Egypt. God champions the underdog, and so should we.

Finally, offer second chances to people when they fail. People are going to disappoint you, but be willing to extend grace to them, just as you are the recipient of God’s grace. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ selflessly helped us in our time of need, and that is how we will survive and thrive in difficult times–by selflessly helping others in their time of need.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #9: Help Others” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

C. S. Lewis, “The Weight Of Glory, And Other Addresses” (1980; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2001), 46.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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