There are many times when I catch myself being so critical of myself and others. It’s just so natural for me to find myself analyzing a situation and finding everything wrong with it. But I have to wonder: what do I consider to be perfect? And is my version of perfection anywhere close to what God would consider it to be? Naturally, we would probably look at someone’s outward appearances or recent accomplishments to praise someone, but how often do we acknowledge someone based on their genuine heart for God? How much do we encourage these dedicated people and thank them for their constant prayer and hard work?
I recently went on a mission trip to Columbia and despite the language barrier and cultural differences, the one thing I continually noticed about the people I was working with was their attitude. As a church, they so desperately want to spread the gospel to the kids in the neighborhoods and their parents. That kind of faith and enthusiasm is something to admire. And even though they don’t seem to need the extra push to keep working for the Lord, I can’t help but think that a little encouragement goes a long way.
There are times when we have noticed someone who goes out of their way to make sure things are in order. It could be the person who makes sure the coffee is ready, or the little kid that puts away the tables and chairs at church, or someone that always cleans up at the end, etc. They do it because they want to and not because it’s their job. And they may not expect or think they deserve a simple “thank you” for their efforts, but again, a little encouragement can go a long way.
While in Columbia, we went mountain climbing. Although I’m deathly afraid of heights and because I was with people that I was just getting to know, I decided to be a team player and go. As we started going higher up, I began to get more and more nervous. Just taking deep breaths and singing beautiful songs in my head in case I met my end. But the second I told my team about my fear, they were so supportive and encouraging. All I had to do was trust them to help me out and believe them when they said I could actually do it. And guess what guys? I made it all the way to the top! From the moment my eyes were actually open, the view was beyond beautiful and I’m so proud of myself for actually making it to the end. I probably wouldn’t have experienced any of that without them. Seriously, encouragement goes a long way! Almost 2,000 feet high!
So I realized my problem was being a little too comfortable in the way I live and hesitating to step outside outside of my comfort zone. Now that’s something I need to work on because I’m missing out on a lot of beautiful moments. But for those diligent people who soldier on and go out of their way to make sure that they never miss a moment, especially when it comes to working for the glory of God, I sincerely admire you. For those that work tirelessly to keep the church running, or spread the gospel, or move to foreign places to do the work of the Lord, I hope you all receive a little encouragement to keep doing what you do.
1 Peter 4: 8 – 11
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”