Throughout the month of October, Serene Sundays will be devoted to encouragement. Last week’s article was dealt with why to encourage others. In upcoming weeks the articles will cover how to encourage and when to encourage. This week’s article is about who to encourage.
Last week we discussed why we should encourage others. Now let’s look at who to encourage. I am a Christian woman and as a result I take a great deal of my guidance from the Bible. The Bible specifically provides that one should not cast their pearls before swine. One way to interpret this in modern English is, do not spend your time trying to help people who clearly do not want to be helped by you.
There are some people in your life who always want to ice skate uphill. You know those people, if they make $100 per hour, they are upset because the girls next door makes $125 per hour. These types of people are the type who sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and complain that there are no bar-b-que burgers. These people are swine. Your words of encouragement, support and inspiration are pearls. Do not waste your time on swine.
Sales managers tell their salespersons not to spend time trying to convince people who do not have the money, desire and ability to buy the product. For example, it is a waste of time to try to convince a person with four young children, earning $50,000 per year to buy a Porsche. The person does not have the money to buy the Porsche. That person will not have the ability to buy the car because it will not hold the entire family. But, the person may have the desire. However, for the salesperson, someone without money, desire, and ability may well be swine.
On the other hand, look at a person who wants to go back to school and get an advanced degree. She got accepted to a major university, got the financing to cover the costs of tuition and related expenses and arranged with family for child care support. However, she is nervous about going back to school because she has been out of school for more than a decade. She thinks she can do it, but she is a little scared. This is a person who should be encouraged. She should be lifted up. It is a good thing for her to have some backup when her confidence may falter. This is an excellent candidate for your gift of encouragement.
Think about children, when they are learning to walk. The children have the desire to walk. Walking is free so they can afford to walk. The children have two working legs so they have the ability to walk. Children who you want to teach to walk are not swine. Children who are trying to learn to walk are perfect candidates for encouragement. In other words, you encourage people who will respond positively to encouragement. Keep in mind, just like a child learning to walk needs encouragement more than once, the adults we encourage may need encouragement over and over again. There is nothing wrong with a person needing to be encouraged over and over again. Even the gas tank in a car has to be refilled. Our tanks for encouragement need to be replenished as time passes.
Most of the encouragement that we give is free. Kind words, emails and telephone calls are not costly items. Therefore encouragement with these methods should be given freely and abundantly. There is no reason not to lavish those around us with encouragement, with encouraging words. In my opinion, encouragement should be given with abandon. If after spreading your encouragement you find that it is wasted on some people, no problem. Stop encouraging the people who turn out to be swine.
One last note, sometimes the person you need to encourage is yourself. So pat yourself on the back and say to yourself, what I say to myself each morning and what I taught my children to say, “I am Janeane Davis. I am a child of God. God loves me. I love me and I am special.” Lavish yourself with encouragement whenever you need it.
You should lavish encouragement and take joy in encouraging those around you. So the question for you this Serene Sunday is who are you going to lavish with encouragement today?