Complainer or Encourager?
At a recent celebration, we played a little game to get to know one another. We chose three candies from a bowl. Then we were informed that each colored candy – there were five colors – represented a different question. The question synced to the orange candy was: "Who do you admire?"
One woman's answer to this question was poignant. She admired her husband.
Why? Because he never complained.
She then went on to explain that though he worked very hard, every morning he got up yet again, and went to work without complaining. He didn't complain about the house, about the children, about a multitude of things in their life that she felt were quite worthy of complaint. She contrasted her response to his, and it was fully evident she respected and admired his non-complaining attitude and subsequent behavior.
What a beautiful example of encouraging leadership for this man's wife and children.
Do you complain?
Though we all might feel the emotions of dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment or grief, do we express them?
What does the Bible say about complaining?
- We're not supposed to do things while grumbling and questioning. (Philippians 2:14)
- We're not supposed to grumble about each other. (James 5:9)
- We're supposed to offer hospitality without grumbling. (1Peter 4:9)
Complaining about circumstances, during circumstances, or after circumstances won't encourage anyone. Yes, sometimes the negatives in circumstances need to be addressed before, during and after. However, leaders don't complain to change their environment. Leaders encourage.
Whether you lead at home, in your church, volunteer organization or at work, you'll have much more impact with an encouraging word or action than a complaint.
People grow when they're encouraged. People learn when they're encouraged. People come together when they're encouraged. People try when they're encouraged.
- Jesus' encouragement called the disciples together and they grew. (Matthew 4:18-22)
- Jesus' encouragement made a fearful man walk on water. (Matthew 14:25-33)
- Jesus' encouragement gave his followers courage to continue – even till today. (Matthew 28:19-20)
How are you leading like Jesus? How are you using encouragement?
Make Encouragement a Habit in Your Leadership
In the Lead Like Jesus Encounter, there's an experience connected to encouragement that every participant, including us, comes through, and often, words can't express the impact for those involved. They want the experience – this particular exercise – to continue. We won't go into details, but if you've already been through a Lead Like Jesus Encounter, then you understand. If you haven't, then we won't give anything away.
The reinforced take-away from this exercise, is to make encouragement a habit in your leadership.
How do you do that? Imagine that encouragement is made up of five ingredients: hope for the future, demonstrable faith in God, all-encompassing love, deep and abiding prayer, and over-the-top action. Who could you encourage using these ingredients?
- Who needs the encouragement of hope? Our God is a God of hope. How can you share that?
- Is there someone, right now, who you can encourage with your faith in the Almighty God, and His Son Jesus?
- Look for the person in your life who needs to be encouraged with a self-less love. Maybe your spouse?
- Consider your neighbor. Lift them up with encouragement through prayer. Prayer changes things.
- Support with action. Use your physical strength to encourage. Be that extra pair of hands for that person who needs you.
Encouragement is sometimes words, or can begin with words, but it's also a habit of action.
How will you DO encouragement today?
By Robert and Lori Ferguson