Building a Body

1 Thessalonians 5: 11

Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

Each day presents us with opportunities to interact with other people. Do we ignore people or do we say a friendly “Hello?” Do we spend more time tearing people down or building them up? You have so much power. You can strongly affect other people’s day or even their self-esteem. And how do we talk to children? Do we allow them to make mistakes and encourage them or are we always critical and reproving? Do you encourage and build up the children around you? I wish to encourage you to use your power for good. Reach out to people. Say “Hello” to strangers. Encourage someone who is down or who makes a mistake. Build people up and make them stronger. And pray for others as you do. You will be doing your heavenly Father a big favor and he will be very proud of you. 

Leadership Trait

2 Chronicles 32: 1 – 8

After these acts of faithfulness Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and besieged the fortified cities, and thought to break into them for himself.  Now when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to make war on Jerusalem,  he decided with his officers and his warriors to cut off the supply of water from the springs which were outside the city, and they helped him. So many people assembled and stopped up all the springs and the stream which flowed through the region, saying, “Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?”  And he took courage and rebuilt all the wall that had been broken down and erected towers on it, and built another outside wall and strengthened the Millo in the city of David, and made weapons and shields in great number.  He appointed military officers over the people and gathered them to him in the square at the city gate, and spoke encouragingly to them, saying,  “Be strong and courageous, do not fear or be dismayed because of the king of Assyria nor because of all the horde that is with him; for the one with us is greater than the one with him.  With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

You’ve heard it said that attitude determines altitude. A person’s attitude towards the situations of life determines how they will come through those circumstances. King Hezekiah shows us the attitude of a good leader.

The scripture says that in the face of Sennacherib’s threats Hezekiah gathered the people and spoke encouragingly to them. That is what we should be doing. Encouragement is a big deal. In fact, God has told us to encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5: 11). Since discovering that God commands us to be encouragers I have been watching people. Some people are very good at it. Some people even seem anointed of God as encouragers. Then I discovered something. Leaders are encouragers. It turns out that encouraging others is a big part of what it means to be a leader. I didn’t know that.

Hezekiah saw that the threat to the people of Judah was not only to their persons but first to their psyche. The Assyrians were not knocking on their door for a tea party. Hezekiah knew that people would begin to be afraid so he gathered them together and encouraged them. You don’t have to hang out with God, the Father very long to find out where Hezekiah learned this skill. God constantly encourages and uplifts. We have all heard this verse from Ephesians, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (4: 29). We have focused on restricting unwholesome words but there is a second mandate; make it a point to speak words which build people up. That is what edification is, building people up. When someone does a good job, leaders tell them so.

I wonder sometimes if we have become such a broken people that we feel like we are diminishing ourselves if we lift others up. Really the opposite is true. We build ourselves when we lift others. This is such a big deal that the Apostle Paul wrote about it at least five times. I like what he wrote in Romans 15: 2, “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.” Did you know this was the message of Christianity? Can’t say that I did but now none of us have the excuse of ignorance any longer. We have all been called by Christ as leaders. We are the ones who are supposed to be encouraging the frightened, and lifting up the weary. Start today being an encourager. If you cannot find someone to encourage, you aren’t trying very hard. Be a blessing of the Lord.

Leadership Through Encouragement

Hebrews 3: 13

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

We all need encouragement and by this verse we might conclude that we need it daily. People need to hear that they are a blessing or that they are doing things well. I am learning that leaders are encouragers. Several times this spring God has impressed upon that a large part of leadership is encouraging others. I can’t say that I knew that before. I’ve probably heard it but it certainly never sank in. Now I see that encouragement is a key piece of leadership and effective management.

As the Father has impressed this on me I began to ask why we are not naturally better at encouraging others. I have concluded that we are not good encouragers because we are so needy ourselves. We are working so hard at getting what we need and what we want that we have little time or inclination to attend to the needs of others. It is not that we do not wish to be sources of light. It is just that we are consumed with our own stuff. We don’t even look up at others and attempt to be a blessing to them.

However, think of the people that are encouragers in your life. Their emails and phone calls are like a breath of fresh air aren’t they? You really know who these people are. They are the first ones to tell you that you did a good job. They compliment your work, your attire and everything they can find which is well done. And yet these people will never lie to you. They seem to know the value of speaking the truth. They won’t tell you something is excellent unless it is and that makes their praise even more valuable. Another thing about them is that you never have to solicit their compliments. They are free with earned praise. We love having these people in our lives. Now the next step is to become like them.

My sense is that this is an expression of the love and kindness of our Father. Encouragers have received the love of God in their hearts and they are compelled to share it with others. It just flows out from them like a river. They don’t seem to strain, they don’t have to concoct a compliment or cogitate over it. It just flows out from them easily and freely. They are satisfied that God loves them so their striving is done. They are no longer grabbing for all the comfort they can get so they are able to lift their eyes off of themselves and see the grace, beauty and hard work of others. They have peace in their souls so that they can hear the Father’s words of encouragement bubbling up inside them; then they ever so effortlessly just release those words into the lives of others.

Today I wish to celebrate all those people who extend themselves to others to keep us encouraged. I also wish to offer a prayer for all of us that our Father would fill our needy souls with the certainty of His abundant love and acceptance for us. Lastly I wish to exhort each one of you to speak a word of encouragement to someone today. Perhaps we could even make it a goal to encourage one person a day every day.