Encouragement…comes in many different forms. It can be as little as a thumbs up gesture, pat on the back, words like ‘well done’, a hug, prayer or just sitting and listening. I get encouragement every day from something or some person or persons.
Just today, I went to a Restoration Outreach Dallas breakfast with Dr. Jeff Parker, his friends and co-workers, former inmates and others. Talk about encouragement, for everyone there. On Wednesday, I really needed some encouragement from the Lord concerning Abiding Fathers. That day in the mail I received a $5,000 unsolicited donation from a friend, and word that a $7,500 gift was coming from my church.
Dads, our children and wives need encouragement from us, daily or even several times a day. Have you ever stopped to carefully review at the end of a day; what were the ways you provided it? It just might be a good exercise. Right before I go to bed, I pause and prayerfully reflect on everything that I can think of what the Lord did directly or through others for me, my family or those I know, during that day. And how he used me to bless others. I don’t reflect on anything else. That is such a strong encouragement to me.
I was having lunch recently with Tim Wilson and he shared a story about a conversation with his daughter. She is quite talented and they were discussing using her gifts and energy. He sensed she was not fully utilizing that which God had gifted her. As they were visiting one day, he said this to her. “Sweetheart, you have all the horsepower you need; you just need to pop the clutch.” Maybe I should pause here to explain to many young readers what a clutch is. I love his encouraging statement. Honey, you are gifted; you have what it takes—go for it!
This is a father that is engaged in his family. He knows the gifts with which God has blessed them. He is her and their encourager. He wasn’t criticizing; he was attempting to give her the confidence to prosper. Isn’t that what encouragement is? We see it all throughout scripture. One is found in 1 Thes. 5.11. “Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you are doing.” Do you see that? ‘Just as you are doing’. Meaning it had started in the past, is now happening and will continue to be your practice in the future. Keep on keeping on…encouraging!
Specifically, this is what Jesus was saying to his disciples and those listening, and now to us. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10.10) Tim was showing his daughter how to take hold of the abundant life Jesus has prepared for her. And since the Lord is ‘true life’, he was pointing her one more time to the Jesus in her.
Dads, more than anytime in my life do we need for you to step up and build up your wife and children, even grandchildren. The enemy is attacking you and yours whether you realize it or not. He is trying to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ the members of your flock. Are you the ‘good shepherd’ to them, or only a part-time employee? They need your presence, your encouragement—today!
Think back—seriously—when was the last time you have spoken encouragement into members of your family? Don’t you think you should? In fact, I encourage you to take time and write each one of them a letter (hand written on nice paper) of blessing before Christmas. Give it as one of your gifts, no matter the age of the person. And while you are at it, how about including your dear old dad and mom. I bet they would love it!
Now, aren’t you glad I had lunch with Tim and he shared this story? I am.