Romans 12:8 – If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously. (NIV)
When I was a very young girl, I used to go through the cedar chest and look at the drawings that my father did. As a young person he was taking up an apprenticeship to be a lithographer. This was never to be, but he did some wonderful pieces of artwork. I loved art and I tried to follow in his footsteps. I would draw or paint, and then I would take it to him for his approval. He would encourage me to go on in my work. He would give me pointers, like the time I attempted to paint a picture of a pasture with a stream flowing through it. He pointed out that, though we could tell it was a stream, it was just sitting there. He showed me how to give it life and make it flow, to show the reflection of the trees in it.
When I was seventeen my father died, and my desire to draw died with him. I didn't have anyone to go to for approval or to give me pointers on my work.
It was the same sort of thing with writing. I used to write to my friends and family, but that was the extent of it. It is almost a year now since I wrote my first devotional. I had someone who could point out things to me, like, "What is it that you are trying to tell your readers?" or, "Don't use 'I' and 'me'; include your readers by using "we", "our", and "us". It worked!
We all need that encouragement in our daily lives. To encourage one another is to bring out the best in us.
Now that I have been given some pointers, I go to the Lord and wait for His inspiration. This is something we can all do. The Lord has given us pointers for our lives. He has laid out a plan for us to follow, and we need only to come to Him for direction. His plan is simple, so simple that a lot of us find it hard to grasp.
We must humble ourselves as little children and accept by faith our own salvation. Having accepted that gracious gift, we are then set free to enjoy it. We begin here on earth to unwrap the gift of abundant life, and to discover what God's unique plan for each one of us includes. As this gift unfolds, we are then able to encourage one another out of a sense of gratitude and wonder. In this way, we attain the graciousness of living in Christ as we journey in this life, preparing for the most cherished gift of all, eternal live in His kingdom.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to encourage one another in gratitude for the abundant life you have given to each of us. May we come simply, in faith, knowing it is good. Amen.