What’s better? To encourage someone or be encouraged?
Acts 4:36 (NLT)
36For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means “Son of Encouragement”). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus.
My middle name is Joseph. Not until I read the verse above a few minutes ago, did I know what it really meant. “Son of Encouragement.” I like that. And I think it fits me. I think the apostles saw the gift of encouragement in Joseph and lovingly began calling him, Barnabas.
I believe God has gifted me with encouragement. And I’m beginning to see how His plan is unfolding in my life. But it wasn’t always that way.
Hey… Wait a minute.“ Son of Encouragment.” Encouragement means cheerleader, right? “Uh, hey, God? – I think you got the wrong guy. I don’t want to stand on the sidelines and cheer on the team. I wanna be on the field. You know, the guy that scores the winning touchdown. The kid who hits the game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth. The guy off the bench that sinks the 50 ft 3 pointer to secure the victory. The prince that slays the dragon and saves the princess. I’m not a coach. I wanna be the king? Can’t we talk about this?”
That’s the argument I’ve been having with God for the last, oh 40 years or so. “God, heres what I want. Money, fame and everything to go my way. I want to be everybody’s friend and rule the world. What? That’s not what you have in mind for me? Well, why not?” “Because, my plan is perfect and if you follow it you’ll find true happiness.” “True happiness? As a backslapper? As the guy nobody remembers? No thanks. I’ll take Hero, Legend, Superstar, if you don’t mind.”
“Well, Frank. I do mind. If you follow my plan things will work out far better than you know.” “I don’t want to know. I want to be the headliner, the Master of Ceremonies! The host with the most”
Oh me of little faith. And brains, apparently. Recently, God has been revealing His plan to me. He probably has all been along. But finally I’m starting to get it and follow it.
Several years ago my Pastor was speaking on life and said something to the effect that “it’s not God’s plan that everyone be a millionaire. That “not everyone will be famous.” My heart sank. “He can’t be talking about me, can he? Nah.”
So I went about my life following my own map. Making things up as I went along. Sounds exciting and romantic doesn’t it? It wasn’t. It isn’t. It was one miserable road after the other.
Then after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I decided to give up and give in. I quietly knew that the Lord had been wanting me to minister or encourage others. Quietly I knew that. And even more quietly, I actually did some of that. You see my big fear isn’t that I’m just average. It’s that average isn’t be good enough. I said to God, “How am I supposed to go about my ministry and support my family at the same time. How will I pay my bills if I devote myself to being an “encouragement specialist” God said, “You let me handle that. You do what I need you to do and I’ll take care of the rest. Hey, that makes a lot of sense. “Ya know God, I think I may like this plan of yours.” “God just shook His head.”
So let me begin my ministry by encouraging you in your ministry. We all have one you know. When Jesus said “Go and make disciples of all the world” he wasn’t just talking to His 12 closest friends. He was talking to every man. And woman.
So today I am encouraging you to follow God’s plan for your life. If you’re truthful with yourself , you have an idea what that is. If you don’t know, find out what He wants you to do and then do it. I encourage you to take another step. Face another day. Touch another heart.
I encourage you to be a better Dad. A better Mom. A better Son/Daughter. Brother/Sister. A better employee. A better Boss. Be a better neighbor. I encourage you to be a better husband/wife. Be all you can be. To you that might mean hoisting the Super Bowl trophy. If you do, give thanks to the God who gifted you with that cannon for a throwing arm and pinpoint accuracy. Oh, and all the those cheerleaders and coaches too. Thank you…
Today’s Song: “We Will Remain” – Dave Pettigrew