I've been thinking quite a bit about encouragement recently. Personally I think encouragement is one of the most needed and under valued spiritual gifts in the church today. We talk lots about the gifts of healing and prophecy, and even get quite excited about gifts of giving, leadership and mercy, but encouragement never seems to make it onto our radar. Yet Paul lists it as one of the spiritual gifts in Rom 12:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
So over the next few weeks I'm going to put out a few blogs with some thoughts on encouragement, and taking a look at Barnabas who seems to be our ultimate example. Some of you will have heard me preach some of this stuff before, but I think it bears repeating.
So can I leave you with a thought. What is your encouragement ratio? What is the ratio of positive or encouraging things you say to others, versus the number of negative or discouraging things you say? And what would be the incoming ratio be - how much encouragement are you receiving right now? Why not monitor both of these over the next few days and see how you're doing, and let's see if we can get both those ratios up over the next few weeks.