Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.  – Hebrews 10:24

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is Today…    – Hebrews 3:13

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  -Ephesians 4:29

Although he’s been a good little ball player in the past, my younger son began this baseball season in a hitting slump.  He’d moved up to machine pitch and just couldn’t get a hit.  Though hopeful in the first few games that he’d get a hit, he quickly became discouraged, said he wasn’t a good player, and started losing interest in the game.  He even tried getting out of practices. 

Because of his genuine desire to help the kids, the coach extended a special invitation for my son to meet with him an hour before the next game so they could practice hitting.  By the end of that practice my son was hitting balls again! 

My older son is on the middle school football team.  At one of the first practices, the coach had the players running timed laps.  One of the players who wasn’t as fit and agile as the others was struggling to make it around the track.  “Just keep moving! Don’t stop!” the coach said.  Some of the players had already completed their lap.  They saw him struggling and ran across the field to join him, run alongside him, and help him make it all the way around. 

The coach had the players run three more timed laps.  Each time the one who struggled said, “I can’t do it, Coach!”  And each time the coach replied, “Yes, you can!”  By the time the fourth lap was run, almost every player was running alongside this determined young man who wouldn’t quit.  They paced him and cheered him along, and that fourth lap was his best finish of all! 

Both my young son and the football player had it in them all along, but it took special help and encouragement from others to lead them to success.  We were excited to see our son hitting well again, but what we most appreciated was his coach taking the time to instruct him and give him the encouragement he needed. 

The Bible calls for us to come alongside others, to help and encourage them.  With my son, it just took an hour to make a huge difference not only in his performance, but also in his sense of confidence and self-esteem.  Just an hour with his coach was the difference between being discouraged and being determined. 

How about you?  Has there been a time when someone’s time, help or encouragement made a difference for you?

Who could benefit from your time, attention, and encouragement?  How might you help them along?  Sometimes just sharing a kind word of appreciation, admiration, or encouragement – or giving someone a smile – can change a person’s day and entire outlook. 

When you pray, ask God if there’s someone who could benefit from something you could say or do for them.  Take note of who comes to mind and be sure to follow up with those people.  Be aware of those around you.  God might have put them in your path so you could make a difference. 

I’ve benefited many times from the generous words and acts of others to lift me up, inspire, teach, and encourage me.  It is my daily prayer that God will use me to do the same for others.