I am currently writing a sermon for this weekend's service entitled, "Placing other's before yourself." It hit me that this is a large part of encouragement and yet there is something more. Not only is encouragement thinking of other's before ourselves, but it is actively seeking ways to promote other's in a way that builds them up.
Without giving away too much of this weekend's sermon, I want to unpack this concept a bit further. But first, a few lines from Maxwell's book on Encouragement.
People want to do the right thing…stand by them.
People want to belong to a group that achieves the extraordinary…invite them.
To be truly people of encouragement, words are simply the beginning. It is necessary to take tangible action to be with people who need us in order to succeed in life. Long-term, we can do more when people are encouraging us. There is always the ability to utilize guilt or fear to make people bend their will to certain ways, but in the end these measures do not create better people…only results. And results are but half of the equation.
Our calling as people of encouragement is to create environments that allow other people to succeed in a way that builds their self-confidence and self-worth. Success for an encourager can be clearly seen when someone we help returns the favor for another person. That is when we know we have created an environment of encouragement.
That is what good teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, and family do year after year. How I long for my legacy to be an encourager who created environments like this for those around me.