Recently a fellow pastor and I were sharing stories on Zoom when I asked her, do you believe in the ministry of encouragement? She responded right away, “Sure I do. Haven’t you been listening?” That answer got me thinking even more about the importance of sharing a word of encouragement with pandemic-stricken people.
Consider the friends, family, and acquaintances you know who could use a simple word of encouragement. They may be dealing with health issues, work conflicts, or family hardships. You might wonder if some encouragement would make any difference to them. And yet, that may be exactly what they need most. And you might be the best person to offer that word.
Perhaps you recall a time in your own life when someone encouraged you. There was a decision you had to make. Or you had a task to do. And you were very unsure what to choose or how to act. And at that moment, you were reassured by the support of another person who cared enough to reach out to you with encouraging words. Their affirmation was just the nudge you needed.
In the New Testament, you will find Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement.” He was a great help to Paul and Mark in their missionary work. Though he was not one of the original twelve apostles, he is remembered as an influential member of the early church and declared a saint. Barnabas, a humble and dedicated soul, practiced the ministry of encouragement.
Who would benefit from your words of hope, support, and encouragement? You know their names. All you have to do now is tell them.
Rev. Dr. Gary S. Eller
President, Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation