After the ten-year-old’s first voice lesson, his teacher was adamant: “You can’t sing. You haven’t any voice at all. Your voice sounds like the wind in the shutters.”
Despite this discouragement, the boy’s mother heard greatness in his voice. She believed in him. And encouraged him. “My boy,” she said, “I am going to make every sacrifice to pay for your voice lessons.”
The mother’s faith, encouragement and hard work eventually paid off. Maybe you will recognize the boy’s name.
Enrico Caruso, Italian operatic tenor, became one of the world’s greatest performers in the early 20th century.
Caruso’s story reminds me of a simple, but great Bible verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 where Paul exhorted, “Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).
In his book The Power of Encouragement, Dr. David Jeremiah wrote, “The body of Christ is a family whose members are to be mutually involved with one another. One of the one-another ministries God calls us to practice is the ministry of encouragement.”
Ministry of encouragement? Yes! In Romans 12, Paul spoke of the various gifts we have been given and types of ministries in which we are to engage and said, “if it is encouraging, let us encourage.”
I love Dr. Jeremiah’s illustration of encouragement when he compared it to car that wouldn’t start because of its weakened battery. But then someone comes to the aid of the disabled motorist with jumper cables. “The strength of the operative car is transferred into the weak battery, and the inoperative car is rejuvenated into action” That’s the power of encouragement!
Encouragement is a unique need today. More than ever. While there has always been bad news. Evil people. Ungodly actions. 24 hour cable news and the power of the internet brings everything into our homes, and minds. Instantly. It is easy to become calloused by the pervasive nature of sin. And the headlong descent into the moral abyss our country is heading. The admonition of the Hebrew writer is never more needed than today. “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (3:13)
Find a way that works for you to encourage others. Maybe it is by just “being there” when someone is going through a tough time. Use cards, notes, emails, texts, even facebook to encourage others. Look for the right time to say a good word. A kind word. An uplifting word. Or it may be that arm around the shoulder of a discouraged, disconsolate friend. A touch of the hand. A warm embrace,. A pat on the back. A wink. A smile. A thumbs up!
Who needs your encouragement today? A frazzled young mother? An elderly shut-in? A confused young person? A tireless teacher? A dedicated deacon? A new Christian? A faithful preacher? A devoted elder? The physically sick? The emotionally fragile? The spiritually weak?
Don’t understate the power of encouragement. John Maxwell was right when he wrote, “A word of encouragement from a teacher to a child can change a life. A word of encouragement from a spouse can save a marriage. A word of encouragement from a leader can inspire a person to reach his potential.”
Find someone today to encourage. And guess what? You, too, will feel encouraged.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman