Sometimes a simple encouragement has the most profound impact. You may believe you are simply being kind when, in fact, you are releasing the very heart of God.
We underrate the gift of encouragement, yet I believe God holds it in the highest regard. It’s interesting to note the only other person to be given a title like Jesus (Son of God) , is Barnabas (Son of Encouragement) . Indeed, the scriptures show Barnabas as being responsible for the development of Paul (or at least his acceptance by the believers) and Mark (whom Paul wanted to leave behind). No doubt Barnabas encouraged many more to step into their purpose. Paul and Mark – two important contributors to the Bible, responsible for the development and spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ .
If we will practise a lifestyle of encouragement, give genuine, honest, encouraging words to people, the gift of prophecy will grow with greater ease. It will become something that flows naturally out of our lives.
It was time for a gelato stop!
As a family, we had enjoyed wandering through one of the most beautiful gardens I have been privileged to visit. We made our way back along the banks of Lake Como, wandering through the cobbled streets, enjoying the winding pathways, and puffing our way up many steps.
As we headed back to catch the ferry, Master M (16) needed a refuel. We were planning to visit another garden in another beautiful lakeside setting, but refreshment was the order of the moment.
We stopped by a little window that displayed a variety of Italian delights.
A petite woman said hello.
‘Buongiorno. Vorei un gelato per favore,’ I said in my best Italian.
‘Cioccolato per favore,’ Master M added.
The woman serving us stopped and rapidly spoke in English. I was super impressed.
‘Oh, your English is so good.’
I smiled at her as I watched her take the compliment in.
She looked pleased.
‘You understand me?’
‘Of course. Your English is very good,’ I said.
She looked even more pleased as she took our card for payment.
‘Most English-speaking people don’t understand me.’
‘Well, they’re clearly not listening,’ I replied, suddenly feeling the swirl of the Holy Spirit.
She smiled, looking pleased.
We paid for our gelato and made our way.
‘God was up to something,’ I said to Andrew.
‘I clearly felt the anointing as we spoke and I thought I was just giving a compliment. I thought I was just being encouraging, but she clearly needed to hear that she spoke English well. God is funny!’
I laughed, recognising that I had released a prophetic encouragement with no intentionality on my part.
We may think we are just being nice when we compliment someone, but it serves well to remember – kindness is the language of Heaven.
If we are genuine in our encouragement (rather than just tickle egos) we will reflect the heart of God. Encouragement, when practised with intentionality, can become a way of life. It requires us to look for the gold in people, and then it is as simple as calling the gold out. Put another way, it is simply showing kindness through our words and actions in our days. The more we encourage as a lifestyle, the greater trust God can have in us to carry, know and release profound Kingdom secrets. I believe what occurs, as we more closely align our hearts with His, as we gaze at the world through His eyes of Love, is an unintentional leaking of His heart. Not only will we grow in our prophetic gift, but we will prophesy to their need in a moment without even being aware that we are doing so.
And it is in this way, as we encourage, love, and care, that the world will taste and see that…
God is Good!
Note 1: a few examples where the Bible refers to Jesus as ‘Son of God’ include when Mary is told by an angel that she will give birth to Jesus, the angel refers to him as ‘Son of God’ (Luke 1:35); and when Jesus casts out demons, they refer to him as ‘Son of God’ (see Luke 4:41 and Mark 3:11).
Note 2: Acts 4:36
Acts 9:26-30 where Barnabas encourages the other believers to accept Paul into their midst.
Acts 11:25-26 where Barnabas invites Paul to help him teach new believers in Christ in Antioch.
Acts 15:37-40 where Barnabas takes Mark on when Paul refuses to take him on a ministry trip.
© Beth Kennedy 2023