The Gift of Caring

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people. Philemon 7

Years ago when I was a struggling young church planter, I received a phone call from my mentor.  Somehow he had managed to get a cassette tape of a message from a wedding I had performed.  It didn’t take him long to get to the purpose of his call. He said that he was delighted to hear the message and quite impressed.  In essence, he called to encourage me.

encourEncouragement.  It is often called the “gift of caring.”  At those times when I was struggling to carry on, or when I felt lost, it was encouragement that kept me focused and positive.   Sometimes encouragement kept me from giving up.

The Apostle Paul was buoyed by the encouragement and love he received from his friend Philemon.  No doubt, long days in prison threatened to push Paul toward depression. But, he had faithful friends who supported him with their love.

The word for encouragement here is scripture means that someone comes alongside of you. This can be in the form of comfort, consolation, or appeal.  It can be an urging forward for someone who is stuck and discouraged.  The person who encourages reminds you of things you have forgotten or helps you to see forward from where you are.

Also, encouragement can happen in little basic in the most simple of encounters.  It is telling the barista, “You are really good at this job.” You can encourage by noticing any job done well or any action deserving recognition and praise.  For this reason, I believe it is a gospel virtue.  Those who live daily in the affirmation of God find it natural to affirm and praise others.  They regularly give the gift of caring.

That phone conversation from my mentor was no isolated event.  His life was one of on-going encouragement.  Some of the letters that I cherish and still keep in my files were ones he sent me, to encourage me.  His encouragement makes me want to extend this grace to others, to give the gift of caring.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy on February 10, 2017 at 12:42 am

    You were blessed to have such a mentor.


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