On Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Brandon. I’ve known Brandon since he was in preschool, and even though there’s several years between us, we have a lot in common.
Anytime Brandon and I get together, we wind up talking about many of the same topics. We share our passion and excitement over the growth of the church and our desire to see people grow in Christ. We discuss politics – he and I are pretty much on the same side politically, but the ways we express our political beliefs show the generational differences between us. And we talk about sports, particularly the most important sport in the world: Georgia Bulldogs football.
Whenever I spend time with Brandon – whether it’s an hour at lunch or a day at a Dawgs game in Athens – I walk away feeling refreshed and challenged both intellectually and spiritually (and I hope Brandon feels the same way). I’m grateful for our friendship and what it means, not to mention the good that results from it.
The Bible puts it best:
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
Brandon is just one example of this principle at work in my life. I’m surrounded by men and women who challenge me, encourage me, lift me up, and help me develop in my faith. I don’t lack for people who laugh with me, pray for me, and hold me accountable, and I am grateful for each and every one of them.
Do you have one or more people in your life with whom you can be iron sharpening iron? If so, let them know that you’re thankful for them. If not, I challenge you to find somebody. The results are worth the effort.
This past Sunday evening, the leadership of the ministry team that I’m a part of visited Passion City Church in Atlanta. With Louie Giglio speaking and Chris Tomlin leading worship, how could you go wrong? Truth be told, we went for creative inspiration, as well as to be able to worship without having responsibilities…something that’s rare for us. And inspiration abounded: from their creative use of space to the lighting and sound to the worship experience itself, there was much to inspire us.
But God had more inspiration planned for me. Louie spoke about the passing of his sister’s mother-in-law last week. His sister and her husband are members of Passion City Church, and his sister’s in-laws are believers in Jesus. The mother-in-law lost her battle with cancer, and her husband was obviously struggling with the loss of his wife of 50+ years.
The couple has neighbors who are mute. Louie didn’t know specifically if they were also deaf, but the couple is only able to communicate by writing what they want to say on sticky notes. A couple of days after the wife passed, the couple knocked on the door. To offer their encouragement and condolences, they simply wrote three words on a sticky note:
GOD KNOWS BEST.
When I heard that story, it hit me that everyone needs to hear those words (you know…as if that didn’t occur to Louie). It was a breath of fresh air for me. In the midst of writer’s block, friends who are struggling with things that weigh on me, and plenty of other things, it’s a welcome reminder that God knows best and is looking out for me.
What will you do with that knowledge and encouragement?
I recently received an email from a dear, longtime friend of mine that meant a lot to me. It was the kind of encouragement that can only come from someone who knows you well, knows your heart, and knows just the right words to say. And it did my heart good.
I’m the kind of person who thrives on encouragement, and I believe I thrive as an encourager. There’s a certain power in encouragement; it’s a force that lifts the spirit and builds others up. Hebrews 3:13 exhorts us to encourage each other daily, and I try to encourage at least one person everyday. As much as I benefit from encouragement, I get just as much out of encouraging others.
What does an encouraging word do for you? Who have you encouraged today?