Last time, in The Benefits of Encouragement, Part 1, we saw the power of giving encouragement, even when the givers were suffering as well. But is there any payback for the givers of encouragement?
The Bible tells the story of a Moabite woman, one who married an Israelite and then was left a widow without children. This meant, in that society and culture, that she had nothing. In order to sustain herself and her widowed mother-in-law, she went out into the fields and gleaned, something that was only done by the dirt poor. The owner of the field found her and gave her encouragement. He told her to glean only in his fields, and then he told his harvesters to leave plenty of grain behind for this young woman. The young woman was encouraged, yes, and she and her widowed mother-in-law suddenly found themselves in the position where they had plenty to eat; but was there any gain for the owner of the field that showed her kindness?
Some of you have already guessed that that young widow’s name was Ruth, and that the kind field owner was named Boaz, and if you are unfamiliar with the story, I encourage you to read it in the Book of Ruth. As you review the story, you will come to the end of the book and realize that Boaz did, indeed, gain from this act of kindness. He went on to marry Ruth and she bore him a son Obed, grandfather to King David, ancestor to Jesus Christ.
Consider the following text:
“Each one of you should give just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, because God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace overflow to you so that because you have enough of everything in every way at all times, you will overflow in every good work. Just as it is written, ‘He has scattered widely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness remains forever.’ Now God who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your supply of seed and will cause the harvest of your righteousness to grow. You will be enriched in every way so that you may be generous on every occasion, which is producing through us thanksgiving to God.” (2 Cor 9:7-11)
This means that when we give encouragement, we are promised the following benefits:
1. God’s Grace will overflow in us (vs 8);
2. You will overflow in every good work (vs. 8);
3. Your righteousness will remain forever (vs. 9);
4. Your seed and bread will be provided and multiplied (vs. 10);
5. The harvest of your righteousness will grow (vs 10);
6. You will be enriched in every way (vs 11)!
I don’t know about you, but that looks like a pretty good payback to me!
In part 1 of this series (See The Benefits of Encouragement, Part 1), I told four stories of people who reached out and encouraged others, despite their own substantial need. Was there any payback for these people?
I am excited to report that the African prayer warrior who reached out to others across the world in their time of need, providing them with prayers and encouragement, was blessed by having every one of his own needs not only met but surpassed in the course of a year. That’s what happens when we reach out to others, even when we are in dire need ourselves!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case in my other three examples. We know that many of the West Berliners lost their lives in trying to help their brothers and sisters escape Eastern Germany. We also know that the priest who stood in the place of the young man in Auschwitz lost his life, and I am sad to say that my friend’s father, who reached out to encourage me when I was dealing with cancer, passed away a few months later. That doesn’t sound much like having their lives enriched, does it?
Or does it? Let’s remember that two of the promised benefits of giving unconditionally to others are: Your righteousness will remain forever (2 Cor 9:9) and the harvest of your righteousness will grow (vs 10). These people who gave so unselfishly to others, even in the face of their own difficulties, received their ultimate final reward: They are with Jesus in Heaven, for their righteousness has remained forever. They have no more pain, no more sickness, nothing but peace forever and ever.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like pretty good payback after all!
Are you suffering? In need? Dealing with lots of problems?
Don’t despair. Instead, reach out to others in need. Not only will you forever change their lives for the better, but the personal paybacks are beyond measure.
May God bless you as you reach out to others with words of encouragement, even in the face of your own difficulties.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Benefits of Encouragement” mini-series, please click here.)