Words of Encouragement
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).
When Johnny Cash was young, he had a high tenor voice. Across the street from his hometown high school lived La Vonda Mae Fielder, a music teacher who offered private singing lessons at $3 a pop. Johnny’s mother took in laundry to earn money for her son’s first—and, it turned out, also his last—lesson.
His sister accompanied Johnny and his mother to Fielder’s home that day, and vividly remembers what went down in her living room.
“Ms. Fielder said, ‘Well, let me hear what you can do.’ So, he sang a song—I don’t remember what it was—and she said, ‘You can stop now.’ He hung his head and said, ‘You mean I’m no good?’ She said, ‘On the contrary—you have a gift from God that I wouldn’t dare touch! You’re a song stylist. Always do it your way.’ And that encouraged him greatly because he knew he had that calling.”
Those words, in contrast to so many withering ones from his father, impacted Johnny dramatically.
By the time Johnny turned sixteen, his voice had become a deep baritone. Johnny’s singing, while cutting firewood one day, brought tears to his mother’s face because it reminded her so much of her daddy’s voice.
She looked him square in the eye and added portentously: “God has His hand on you, son. Don’t ever forget the gift.” For the first time since his brother’s death, Johnny Cash felt suffused with God’s grace and imbued with hope that his life had a purpose after all.
1. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV)
Can you think of a time someone gave you a good word of encouragement that made your heart feel glad?
2. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. . . And we urge you, brothers and sisters . . . encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. . . always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:11–15 NIV)
When is the last time you were a source of encouragement and help to someone in your life? Can you think of someone you can build up today?
3. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you . . . (Isaiah 66:13 NKJV)
Johnny’s mother, in stark contrast to his father, offered words of encouragement and comfort to Johnny. What impact has your mother had on your life?