After weeks of nonstop travel, I was running out of energy.
As a result I was unusually apathetic as I walked into the conference center for one of my recent presentations. Not a good attitude for teaching relational wisdom.
So I began to pray. “Lord, I feel lousy this morning. I’m tired, discouraged and in no mood to teach your Word with conviction and enthusiasm. Please help me.”
Within moments, a verse I’d memorized years ago came to mind:
“Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Prov. 11:25, NIV).
I sighed and thought, “Lord, my tanks are empty. I don’t have anything to give to others. Please fill me with your refreshing grace.”
There was no instant infusion of energy, but as I approached a group of pastors in the hallway, I managed a genuine smile and greeting, which they warmly returned.
My spirits lifted a bit.
I then saw one of the women who was coordinating the conference and went over to tell her how much I appreciated her diligence, attention to detail and relational skills.
She beamed … and I felt another lift to my spirit.
When one of the other conference speakers walked by, I grabbed his hand and told him that his teaching had spoken directly to an issue in my life.
His face lit up and we enjoyed a few minutes of warm conversation. As he walked away I could tell that his spirit had been refreshed. So was mine.
At that point it became almost a game. Although it went completely against my inclination as an introvert, I reached out to greet as many people as possible before my talk and looked for sincere ways to encourage them.
We talked about their denomination’s history, their leaders, the quality of the other speakers, our worship together, and the way God was using them to reach new groups with the gospel. Some people shared personal or ministry concerns that we promptly covered with prayer.
In each conversation, I sought to lift others with words of encouragement, asking God to make me like the wind under an eagle’s wings. And in every case, that refreshment flowed back to me, giving me the energy, joy and lift I need whenever I step forward to teach God’s Word.
Whoever refreshes others will indeed be refreshed, and whoever puts wind under the wings of others will himself be lifted.
– Ken Sande
- Have you ever noticed how a genuine smile from another person can lift you spirits? Why is that? To learn more about how your smile can encourage other people, read Seven Benefits of a Smile.
- Who is one of the most encouraging people you know? What does he or she do that is so encouraging to you? How could you imitate that character quality today?
- One way to develop the habit of encouraging others is to memorize and practice the SERVE principle:
- Smile (At home, in the office, at the store; even on the phone, a smile changes the sound of your voice and sends a message of warmth and friendliness)
- Explore and Empathize (Observe others, ask questions, and show interest and compassion)
- Reconcile (Be a peacemaker, always ready to confess, forgive, and reconcile others to one another and to God through Christ)
- Value (Express appreciation and admiration for what others do)
- Encourage (Give courage and inspire, always leaving others with more “wind under their wings”)
- Proverbs 11:25 did not pop into my mind out of nowhere. I had memorized that verse years ago. I’ve found that God often uses those memorized passages like “mental flash cards” to answer prayers for guidance. To learn how you can commit hundreds of Bible passages to memory, read Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart.
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© 2015 Ken Sande
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