7 Minute Read

Today’s Bible Reading:

Deuteronomy 31:1-32:27
Luke 12:8-34
Psalm 78:32-55
Proverbs 12:21-23 

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Deuteronomy 31:7-8 (NLT): “Then Moses called for Joshua, and as all Israel watched, he said to him, ‘Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors he would give them. You are the one who will divide it among them as their grants of land. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.’”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

If you go to a football game, you will expect to see cheerleaders on the sidelines. Their job is to lead the crowd in encouraging their team.

If you go to a baseball game, there won’t be cheerleaders. But any baseball player would readily agree that it is much easier to play well if the fans are motivated and loud. If the fans are applauding their efforts, it gives them the emotional strength to keep going.

This same principle is true of runners as they exhaust their energy reservoirs during a race. The fans that line the road, who cheer them on, are precisely what they need to keep going.

Whether we like to admit it or not, we like to be encouraged. In fact, there are times when we NEED encouragement. 

Unfortunately, it is human nature to enjoy cheering in a crowd while finding it distasteful to encourage individuals, especially those experiencing a level of success greater than our own.

One of the books I am reading is “Winning With People” by John Maxwell. In it, he identities attitudes and activities that enable us to help those around us. In the chapter titled “The Celebration Principle,” he spoke of the success he experienced in pastoral ministry. Then, he was transparent as he elaborated on how his success elicited an unpredictable response from his peers.

“Unfortunately during those early years, I might have also been the loneliest pastor in my denomination. The good news was that when I failed, plenty of people were glad to commiserate with me. But when I succeeded, few celebrated. I thought my colleagues and I were on the same team, but evidently they didn’t see it that way. Many times Margaret and I celebrated alone.”

John, and everyone else who has experienced a level of success, realize that people may step in to encourage you when you’re down but will grow silent when you are doing very well. Whether they are silent because of their insecurity, jealousy, scarcity mentality, or a handful of other reasons, they find it difficult to celebrate someone else’s success. Going back to the point I made at the outset of this article, they are withholding the encouragement we might need to thrive and possibly even experience more success.

When we withhold words of encouragement, we are holding each other back. 

I am so grateful when I read Deuteronomy 31:7-8. It tells us that Moses called for Joshua and encouraged him. I want to believe that as Joshua experienced a great deal of success in taking the Promised Land, folks continued to encourage him.

Today, consider who you can help and encourage with your words. Be a “Moses” who inspires the next generation of leaders. Maybe the Lord will one day share with you in your Heavenly home how He used your words to bless others and create a much more significant impact than you ever imagined.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash