The effort to climb or stay at the top of our game is worthwhile. In the process, we know that avoiding negativity from others is a good strategy. Encouragement, on the other hand, is always welcome and should be our goal. And … encouragement from someone often morphs into our encouragement to someone. Today I choose to seek God’s encouragement in His Word so I can be an encouragement to others. How about you?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
British Columbia’s inland ocean is full of Dungeness crabs. Heavy-bodied and spineless, they're called Dungies by the locals. One summer my husband and I motored out to catch some Dungies for our noon meal. We lowered our baited, homemade crab traps into the water, returning after three or four hours to pull the traps and reap our harvest.
On shore we transferred the Dungies into a large bucket, saving only those of legal size and gender. I studied the crabs closely. Some of them crawled up the side of the pail trying to escape. Without exception, they were pulled down by those on the bottom of the pail. None of the creatures was able to succeed in reaching the top because of others that hindered them.
Unfortunately, that's a common picture of the world today. Whether by choice or not, many of us associate with Dungies who are intent on pulling us down to their low level of performance or who are eager to tell us that what we're doing—or believing—"just won't work.” Cheering someone on isn't the usual mindset of negative people.
When we desire to change things for the better, to try a new idea, to grow in our spiritual life, we need to avoid the attitudes of naysayers and whiners—the bottom-of-the-pail Dungies. We should surround ourselves by people who will encourage us and cheer us on. Facts prove that successful people hang around those who are already performing at a high level, the level at which they want to perform.
God is the ultimate encourager. "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Likewise, God is asking us to encourage others. "But encourage one another daily … so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13) When we encourage others, we will be encouraged, and it will keep us from being pulled down like the Dungies.
Notice that we are to encourage each other every day. Encouragement can become a daily habit that can change peoples’ lives—just as God’s encouragement can change ours.
Lord, we want to succeed in this life, making a mark that will bring good to those around us. Give us wisdom to avoid the attitudes of naysayers and whiners that tempt us to flounder, like the spineless Dungies, in our spiritual growth. Help us remember to look to You for daily encouragement through Your Word so we can better encourage others. In Jesus' name, amen.