Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Gift of Encouragement Testimonial

One of our members, Kim, said that she enjoyed reading the testimoials about how people have used the gift of service, and she said that she could see herself doing these things. This is indeed how we learn about the Christian faith--by intersecting with, hearing about, being inspired by, and imitating the stories of others. For instance, we best learn about faith from learning the story of Abraham's faith.

Well, here is another group of testimonials on another gift, the gift of Encouragement. These are real, live people who are using their gifts for God. See if you can see yourself in the stories about this gift.

EncouragementThis gift equips one to "lift the spirits" of a person, positively affirm someone’s ability, or strongly urge someone to take some action for God. An example of someone leading through encouragement would be seeing potential in someone and calling on him or her to use this potential (Acts 11:23).

Roger D., Programming Project Manager, Shepherd, married, father of three--"I love to encourage people. It is something that I rarely tire of and feel so plugged in to God when I’m exercising this gift.
I have encouraged many young people who are serving God in various ways to keep up the good work by giving them a pat on the back and by helping them grow by kindly suggesting ways to improve. There was one young man a few years back who led a devotional talk at our house for the youth group. He was nervous about leading the devo, but he did a fabulous job. The lesson was well thought out and was very meaningful to the kids there that night. I encouraged the young man to keep putting forth that kind of preparation in to his lessons. I also encouraged him to be more of a leader in the youth group.
I have helped fellow employees overcome struggles they have had to deal with by listening to them and showing that I care about them. I have tried to encourage long-time Christians who have been struggling with their faith to not lose hope. We have so much to look forward to!"

Adrienne T., Communication Arts Educator, member, married, mother of one--"Taking inspiration from The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I have come to the understanding that you give what you need. I need encouragement, so I give encouragement. As God has added blessings to my life, my avenues of outreach through encouragement have also grown.
The demands of my career can be tremendous at times. I have found that when I extend my gift of encouraging to my students and colleagues as they face the same perils through kind words, respect, and actions that it makes their jobs easier. Each week, I send out a positive postcard to a student. Some weeks are simple, ‘You are an excellent role model for your peers,’ or ‘I can always count on you to make good choices when it comes to time management.’ The positive feeling comes back to me when they return to class on Monday thanking me for the postcard they received."

Dianne M., married, mother of two grown children, minister’s wife--"When our sons were growing up I tried to instill in them an awareness to find the talents and gifts that God had given them. I made suggestions that they try different things in school according to what they thought their strengths and abilities were. At those times when they felt inadequate or were lacking confidence in their abilities, instead of focusing on the negative, I would reinforce all the positive attributes that they possessed. Even now as adults, I find that I am still commending them on their successes, trying to uplift them during various trials, and supporting them.
Another way in which a Christian sister and I have been encouraging others, is through our ‘cookie ministry.’ We try several times a month to visit the sick, the elderly, a new visitor, or someone who just needs some encouragement. During our time together we try to let people know how much they are appreciated and thought of. Perhaps it is a kind word, sitting by their bed, a hug, a service offered or just being someone who will listen and to reaffirm to them how valuable they are to us."

Did you find these helpful in understanding what the gift of Encouragement is?