May’s team member contribution to Ishshah’s Story speaks to a holy conundrum experienced by those who live daily in the role of a God-called encourager. Encouragement is not a trait mutually exclusive to women; many men are called to expend their days as an encourager of others too.
As I prepared to write this particular post, I was taken to Hebrews 3:13 – See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Though I did not use that verse in my article, the instruction to ‘encourage one another daily’ is given to every believer. But let’s face facts – not every believer is into encouraging others let alone their own heart. This presents both a struggle and a growth area in the lives of many in the Body of Christ. As siblings in Christ, we are all in varying degrees and places in our respective journeys.
The Hebrews 3 admonition gives weight to my sense of the need for encouragement in order to continue encouraging. At times ‘daily’ means one steps forward to carry the encouragement torch for a bit while another steps back, seeks, and receives a fresh dose of encouragement in order to re-engage again. A relay of the encouragers in communion with one another.
God-called encouragers need encouragement too. They’re not always warmly welcomed – or they may feel sucked dry. Other times their own load seems unusually heavy and weariness sets in.
The Lord knows and at times brings forth a selective encouraging word. This is one of those times.
Please enjoy the following post, Encouraging the Encourager, re-shared in its entirety.
Encouraging the Encourager
Have you ever been starved for encouragement?
I think I see a global version of “the wave” passing across my computer screen. You too, huh?
If anything, there is encouragement in the fact that none of us are alone in the need for encouragement.
No man or woman is an island. We’ve all climbed that palm tree at some point, scanned the horizon for a boat named Hope, written S.O.S. on the sands that resemble a desert more than a beach, and whacked off a coconut or two to drink the milk and dropkick our troubles off into the sunset.
At times, Hope floats to us on the incoming tide. We begin to feel better and with a boost of courage hike our way back over the dunes to rejoin society and carry on, till next time.
When David exhorted in Psalm 34:8 to “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man (Heb. valiant, warrior, person, every one) who takes refuge in Him,” he was encouraging his own heart. It struck me that David could not have known how the praises, laments and musings he wrote from the voice of his one heart would be a voice of encouragement to so many other hearts through the ages.
Thank God that David liked to sing, write, think and pray out loud.
How many of you have turned to the Psalms when hungering for some encouragement for your soul? The Word is flavorful at those times with substance like that of a healthy snack or a divine meal. He never fails to feed and nourish the hungry one who comes to Him. With more available, always.
Are you an ‘encourager’?
Preach the Word;
be prepared in season and out of season;
correct, rebuke and encourage—
with great patience and careful instruction.
II Timothy 4:2 
You likely are if in reading that passage the Word resounded within you, for Deep calls to deep. Psa 42:7
Paul in his second letter to Timothy (whom he regarded as a son) listed an encourager’s job description:
- Preach the Word
- Be prepared any time; in season and out of season pretty much covers it
- Do those three things in your preaching (proclaiming) of the Word with great patience
- Do it with careful instruction from a heart inclined to learn and teach sound doctrine
- The above will flow as you prepare and stay prepared yourself
There is nothing inactive or dull in what Paul instructed Timothy. For those called to wear the mantle of an encourager (in whatever form, setting or circumstance that may be), the action necessary for being made and stayed ready is a gift in itself. It’s a preparation of the heart, not the to-do list.
However, I think Paul was not only instructing Timothy; he was encouraging him with a needed word.
Encouragers thrive on encouragement.
Paul knew this for he was an encourager himself. If anyone had a clear view of reality it was Paul. He had done a 180 in his turn from the kingdom of darkness. He saw in the light what was hidden in the dark.
So he poured into encourager-to-be Timothy the necessary instruction bathed in a river of encouragement.
If you read the preceding chapters of II Timothy you will find Paul’s encouraging statements penned throughout. Then the grand finale of ‘here’s what to do’ in chapter four, verse 2 (above) because …
… the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers
to say what their itching ears want to hear.
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
verses 3-4 
As with David’s writings, no doubt Paul too was unaware of the impact his letters would later have.
Preserved, they offer the gift of encouragement and instruction for our lives and time. I am immensely grateful because it appears we are living in ‘the time’ of which Paul spoke. God-called encouragers (who must speak the Word of truth and life) can’t not encourage and yet need to be encouraged themselves.
Do you know that not everyone wants or likes to be encouraged? That’s some bad pizza for the one who is called to be an encourager! Driven to encourage with the word of truth while many turn away.
What’s an encourager to do then? Give up encouraging?
Thank God that Paul called for his parchments and pen. What he said to Timothy then remains a quickened word of instructive encouragement now –
But you [insert your own name here]–keep your eye on what you’re doing;
accept the hard times along with the good;
keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
verse 5 
Stay focused on the few things that matter – a watchful and single eye on that to which you’ve been called; endurance in hardship and affliction; keeping the gospel Message alive; and carrying out fully, in evidence, your service to the King. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. Hebrews 6:10 
And all God’s encouragers said Amen. ▪
Encouraging the Encourager was originally posted on Ishshah’s Story in both the Commentary and Her Wisdom categories. I invite you to explore the wealth of offerings available at Ishshah’s Story to further instruct, encourage and embolden your own heart and testimony as you live the witness of Christ.