Thursday, September 4, 2014

Open Heavens Devotional for Thursday September 4, 2014: ARE YOU AN ENCOURAGER?


Memorise: Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
2 Timothy 1:4

Read: Acts 4:36-37
36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Two peculiar perils that confront Christian Leadership are discouragement and undue elation. A spiritual leader is in peril of being unduly depressed by inevitable times of discouragement and being unduly elated by inevitable days of uplifting experiences and achievements. Both of these seasons are experienced in every work for God. It is important for a spiritual leader to be watchful in seasons when everything goes well, when goals are reached, when planned endeavours are crowned with success, when the Spirit moves, souls are saved and saints are blessed. At such times, a mature leader should know on whose brow to place the crown of achievements. He should be careful not to arrogate to himself the glory that belongs to God alone. 

There are also moments of discouragement. These are seasons when everything seems not to be going well, when goals are frustrated, when planned endeavours flop, when the Spirit refuses to move and worship services seem insipid and lifeless. At such times, a leader needs encouragement. He should however be careful not to misbehave. Someone summed up what should be the attitude of a wise leader at moments of elation and discouragement in these cryptic words: "If successful, do not crow; if defeated do not croak". Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone needs assistance. Everyone needs comfort. Everyone needs the prayers of others. Apostle Paul knew this truth when he requested in Ephesians 6:18-19 that brethren should pray for him. Are you a source of encouragement or an instrument of discouragement to your leader? There are several ways Christians can encourage their leaders. One is by obedience. Obey your leader. Make his work easy, enjoyable and interesting for him. Demonstrate that you love him. Be his friend.

"Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."  John 15:14

Another way to encourage your leader is through voluntary service. Render assistance to your leader. Do whatever you can to boost his ministry and ensure that it flourishes. Use your talents, gifts and material resources for the furtherance of the work entrusted into the hands of your leader. Be sacrificial in your service. The dispensing of encouragement should however be reciprocal. Just as subordinates are expected to encourage their leaders, leaders should also encourage their subordinates. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in Luke 8:2-3 was encouraged by Mary Magdalene and some other women who ministered to him out of their resources. However, before these women could minister to him, Jesus had encouraged them by his own ministration of salvation, healing and deliverance. Additionally, a spiritual leader is a father, and fathers are enjoined in the scriptures not to provoke or frustrate their children (Ephesians 6:4). Do not deny them their rights and privileges.

Prayer Point: Father, help me to be an encourager.

Bible in one year: John 17: 1-19:16; Job 33:8-18

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