The first time the word “encourage” is used in the New International Version is significant. It occurs in Deuteronomy 1:38, where we read, “But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.”
Here we find Moses reporting a conversation between him and the LORD. He recounts the fact that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land. However, his assistant Joshua, whom the LORD had selected to lead the people, would do so. Because of the tremendous task before him, the forces working against him and because the future of the entire nation is in his hands, the LORD instructs Moses, the seasoned leader, to encourage his understudy.
Few things are more important than encouraging words. Few things have meant more to the advancement of God’s purposes on earth than respected leaders speaking encouraging words to emerging leaders. Conversely, few things are more difficult than remaining energized in doing the work of the Lord when laboring in a context in which encouraging words are seldom heard.
Perhaps it would be good for each of us to pause and ponder…
— How am I being encouraged in my labors for the Lord?
— What am I doing to encourage others in their kingdom endeavors?
May God help us all realize the importance of this role we play in one another’s lives. May God help us to be encouragers!