I was reviewing drafts written last month in the midst of the Write31Days Challenge, and I was struck with this phrase:
“To encourage those around us is to serve them.“
Is service really such a strong aspect of encouragement? So back to the original definition of encourage I went.
encourage: [en-kur-ij, -kuhr-] verb (used with object), 1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence; 2. to stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.; 3. to promote, advance, or foster; synonyms: hearten, urge, and support [encourage. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/encourage (accessed: September 16, 2015)].
The words which struck me when I read this definition where “aid,” “assist,” “support” and “inspire with confidence.” The idea of encouragement being not merely words we say or even necessarily something we do for another that blesses them. Rather encouragement words and actions enable others to move forward with confidence. Our encouragement lifts them and holds them up, equipping them for their work. Is service then aspect of encouraging? I would say yes, we encourage with words, actions and service. If our service enables another, it is encouraging.
Am I lifting others?
Are the actions and service I do enabling others for the work before them? As we each go through the “stuff” of life which occupies us, may we consider whether we encourage – aid and support. You may be assisting any variety of people and the assisting action may take a variety of forms. Still all ought to encourage, and by encouraging serve someone where they are and in the work they are doing.