Monday, April 27, 2015

How Not to Encourage - Martin Wiles


But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 NIV

John had been drawing disability from the company he had worked with for several years. Sadly, the medical benefit portion of it would soon run dry. He was feeling discouraged when he called his mom for encouragement. Trying to be a good mom, she dished out what she assumed would be encouraging words. Unfortunately, she failed just as I do sometimes. 

“Mom, I was just informed that my health care benefits will be discontinued at the end of the year. Neither I nor the kids will have any insurance. Don’t know how I will afford to buy my medicines.” 

“Don’t worry, son. God will work things out. Don’t let it get you down”

“I’m trying not to let it get me down.”

“Do you remember Mike Farmer?”

“No.”

“Yes you do. He was married to your first cousin’s best friend. He worked at the cotton mill in Orangeburg—the same one I did. Well, anyway, I was talking to his mother the other day, and she said it took him five years to get his disability. He ended up in a homeless shelter for three years. And then when he finally got it, it was six months before he got his first check.” 

“Well, I hope mine doesn’t take that long.”

“And do you remember Philip Dawson who used to go to that church your dad pastored in Tennessee?”

“No, I was only three years old when we lived there Mom.”

“Well, you ought to remember him. He used to give you and your brother tootsie rolls all the time. Anyway, his son developed some kind of neurological disease when he was young—probably in his thirties. He was turned down every time he applied for disability. In fact, he died before he was ever approved. They didn’t even have money to bury him.”

“Well, I think I will go now.”

“Okay son. But just remember, God is in control. And if you ever need any more stories of encouragement, I’m just a phone call away.”

The temptations to sin and the difficulties of living in a world gone sour make encouragement a necessity—giving it and receiving it. The writer of Hebrews encourages his readers to give it to each other, but not the kind this mom tried so hard to give her son. Encouragement by its very nature should be uplifting. Spirits rise, fortitude increases, and steps are livelier when encouragement is received. 

Who can you give a word of encouragement to today?

Prayer: As You, Father, encourage us each day, so help us to encourage others.

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