A story I loved came to light several years ago when it appeared in Parade Magazine. It revolves around a class of 59 sixth-graders in East Harlem in 1981. These were “at risk” youngsters most of whom would drop out of school before graduation. If that were not bad enough, many would also likely turn to drugs and crime if they followed in the same path as those before them.
But was there a way to turn this trend around? In this case there was! It came through a promise made by a self-made millionaire named, Eugene Lang. Mr. Lang was given an invitation to speak to this class to see if he could inspire them to stay in school and make something of themselves. As he pondered what he might say he decided to make them a proposal. He told the class if they would stay in school and graduate, he would send them to college.
His words made a positive impact on these young people. Would you believe that nearly 90% of that class graduated from high school? One of the students who took him up on his offer was later quoted to say, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting me. It was a golden feeling.”
We never know what a word or act of encouragement might mean to someone and this story is just one of countless others that prove it. But the need for encouragement is not limited to a few; we all need it! And this is just as true in our spiritual lives as anything else.
God knows how important encouragement is to us and He sees that we receive it in a couple of ways. First, He gives us encouragement through His Word. Here are just a couple of examples. Paul wrote, “Let us not grow weary in while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). He also described the “crown of righteousness” that awaits all the faithful when this life comes to an end (2 Timothy 4:7, 8). It is truly “a golden feeling” to know that there is a heavenly reward waiting on us!
Secondly, God expects us to encourage each other. Note these words: “Exhort [encourage] one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
So, read the Bible today and be encouraged! Further, be an encourager to someone today! It is the little thing that can make a world of difference!