A 21st century Jewish Rabbi shared this striking statement about the power of words:
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively use words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble.”
This statement brings to mind the truth of Proverbs 16:24. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
I was further reminded of this fact the other day at breakfast in Bainbridge, Ohio, that Matt Allen, Cain Atkinson, and I shared with Dan DeGarmo. Dan said he sent out an email that morning to his church family with just three words: Engage. Encourage. Elevate.
Immediately, I said, “That sounds like a blog post,” as I grabbed my phone to record them. They all laughed. But those words impacted me, and I hope you will find them impactful as well.
To engage is to be involved. To commit oneself to something. To draw another person in. To participate.
Christianity is a religion of engagement. Not self-centered insolation. The Bible calls the church the family of God (Eph. 1:5; 3:15). God is our Father. Jesus Christ is our elder brother. And we’re brothers and sisters born again into one spiritual family.
The very essence of fellowship requires engagement. It is joint participation. Sharing in common. Communion. Comradeship. And companionship.
We’re brothers and sisters who care enough to “bear one another’s burdens” (Gal. 6:1-2).
Engagement leads to encouragement. To encourage is to inspire, embolden, and hearten. It suggests “the raising of one’s confidence, especially by an external agency.” Christians are to be agents of encouragement.
The 59 “one another” commands in the Bible speak to the importance of our mutual engagement with each other. Here are just a few.
- “Be devoted to one another” (Rom. 12:10).
- “Admonish one another” (Col. 3:16).
- “Serve one another” (Gal. 5:13).
- “Be kind to one another” (Eph 4:32).
- “Bear one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:1-2).
- “Forgive one another” (Col. 3:13).
- “Love one another” (Jn. 13:34).
- “Encourage one another (1Thess. 5:11).
To elevate is to lift. To heighten. To boost. To raise to a higher position. To lift one’s spirits.
When we’re engaged in God’s family, practice the “one another” commands of encouragement, it raises us all to a higher level of living. Of learning. And of loving.
We elevate each other by giving preference to one another in honor (Rom. 12:10). By looking out for the interests of others (Phil. 3:4). And by praying for each other (Jas. 5:16).
When we elevate each other, we view our brothers and sisters in a new light. We see them as fellow heirs. We see their uniqueness.. We see their value. And we elevate each other spiritually to achieve greater goals and ultimately see our heavenly reward.
As we were leaving and Dan was getting in his truck, he hollered, “There’s one more. Empower.”
That’s right. Words are meaningless without empowerment. We find empowerment in God’s Word and through prayer. And seek to empower others in a ministry that engages. Encourages. And elevates.
Empowerment also speaks to putting our principles and precepts into practice. Of going beyond sweet words, but doing good deeds.
As the ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou is crediting with saying, “When deeds and words are in accord, the whole world is transformed.” And I would add so also is the family of God.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman