Oops! I bet like me you just missed it. September 12 is celebrated as National Day of Encouragement, a day set aside to remember to inspire, reassure, and support one another. The website anydayguide.com defines the day this way:
“National Day of Encouragement in the United States is observed on September 12. It was first announced in 2007 and has been celebrated each year ever since. National Day of Encouragement was launched by the Encouragement Foundation at Harding University, a private liberal arts Christian university in the city of Searcy, Arkansas. This day is dedicated to uplifting people around us and making a positive impact. On September 12, Americans are expected to make deliberate acts of encouragement, offering reassurance and inspiration to those who need it.”
Just because it officially happened a couple of days ago does not mean we shouldn’t make an effort to encourage one another every day of the year. On the website, some of the ways suggested to encourage people are giving high fives to others at work, contact a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a long time, and to tell someone they are doing a great job whether it is someone you work with or the person bagging your groceries. Notice it is nothing major or takes much effort, it’s simply taking the time to recognize the worth of each one around you.
We all need encouragement. If you’ve read the biographies of successful people, you will find most of them mentioning the people who encouraged them on their journey. Maybe it was a parent who really parented or a teacher who took extra time to get to know their students and encourage the special gifts they saw in each one, but it was someone who took a personal interest in them.
We all can be encouragers. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to be encouragers. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he writes:
God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11, MSG)
Paul pointed out the people were already doing this. Are you? Are you an encourager of people or do you walk blindly through life watching out only for number one, yourself? We are on this journey together and it is crucial—especially for those of us who are striving to live life as a Christ-follower—to encourage one another in our walk. How are you doing at encouraging? Do you take the time to recognize the janitor who keeps your workplace looking so immaculate? Are you rude to the bank teller when he takes longer than you think he should with the older person in line ahead of you? Do you take time to greet the clerk at the grocery store or are you so busy focusing on your next errand that you forget the people who are helping to make this errand a success?
The Golden Rule comes into play here: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How much better do you feel when someone encourages you to keep going? When someone reminds you to keep leaning on your trust in God? How good do you feel when someone tells you that you are doing a good job? How much does it brighten your day when someone gives you a warm, reassuring smile? Be that someone. Be the person who is known for lifting others up rather than tearing them down.
We are all only here for a short time. What we do with our lives and how we will be remembered is determined in great part by how we treat others. Decide today to be known as an encourager. Follow the suggestions of those who designated a day for encouragement and make at least one deliberate act of encouragement to someone around you. Be the person people want to be around because you make them feel good about who they are and what they have to offer to the world. You may be the only person who lifts someone up when they are down.
Be the encouraging person God created you to be. Make every day of the year your day of encouragement!
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