Be An Encourager!
2 Chronicles 35: 2: " And Josiah set the priests in their charges, an encouraged them
in the service of the house of the Lord."
This Scripture tells us how Josiah started his work, and it should be a model for us.
His first act was to get every man in his proper place; and the next thing is for every man
to have a good spirit in his place of service.
The purpose of this message is not to attempt to place people in their proper place,
but to encourage all who are serving God to do their work for the Lord without being discouraged.
So, this message is to people who are discouraged in the work of the Lord.
I would hope that this message would encourage the discouraged, and to urge those
who are serving God and who are down on themselves to encourage them to keep on.
This message is intended to encourage those who think that they can do nothing.
There are people who will say that they can do nothing at all.
We must not take that for granted.
Let us make sure that they cannot do anything.
It is possible that there are those who cannot do anything.
But we know that many times " cannot" often means, " will not."
Sometimes, not to have succeeded in their service for the Lord may mean that they didn't even try.
There are many who have become so discouraged that they will no longer serve.
Their inaction has grown into indolence, and some are just plain lazy.
Imagine not using your right hand or arm for some weeks or even months,
and the time will come when you couldn't use it if you wanted to.
It will stiffen and grow weak.
There are those who cannot serve actively.
These are those who are suffering from illness or they are shut-in.
Maybe, their age does not permit them to serve.
Many who are weary, exhausted and suffer pain daily wish they could serve the Lord.
They wish they did have feet able to walk or run, and they wish they could have hands
they could use to labor and they wish they could use their tongue to testify.
They would love to serve as others are doing.
Let us be encouraged as we are reminded of the law of David.
The law concerned the spoils of battle and war.
There were those who were lame and for many reasons incapable of action.
David left them to look after the baggage.
He said, " You are very weary and ill; stay in the camp; take care of the tents
and the ammunition, while we go and fight."
But when the time came to divide the spoils, the men who went to war and who did the fighting
claimed all the spoil.
They said, " These people have done nothing; they have been lying in the trenches;
they shall not have a share of the booty."
But David established a law.
The law was that not only would those who stayed in the camp share in the spoils,
but that they would share equally.
Now look at that law in the light of our sick and shut-ins or those by reason of age
or other difficulties are not able to enter into active service.
If you are a soldier of the cross, and would fight if you could, you shall share
with the best and the most active of God's warriors.
Let me remind you of a law of the kingdom of heaven.
" He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward."
There are those who think that they are not serving God unless they are serving
in the activities within the church building itself.
Their attitude would be, " I cannot serve God or teach a bible class and I am unable
to serve on a committee."
This would seem to indicate that such a person would think that these are the only ways to serve.
Have you thought that a mother nursing her baby is serving God?
Have you thought that a son or daughter vacuuming the house is serving God?
Have you thought that the wife or the husband, as the case may be, preparing the meal is serving God?
Have you thought that the businessman who is taking care of his business is serving God?
Have you thought that the father taking batting practice with his son is serving God?
Have you thought that the mother swinging her child in the backyard swing is serving God?
All these things ought to be done in the service of the Lord!
We must see that our ordinary work is that of a Christian serving God.
" Whither ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks unto God and the Father."
So, let the activities of our common life as we live day by day, obscure, unobserved,
be holy and courageous, and we will find that " they also serve who only stand and wait."
We must remember that those who simply sat at the feet of Jesus and listened
to His words are also serving God, and there are those who can do no more than that.
There are those who have gone through great sorrow and God uses them
to sympathize with others.
There are those who have suffered a great loss, and God uses them to care for those
who who have also suffered a great loss.
There are those who have experienced the discipline of God, and they know
how to comfort and encourage others.
No one can say that he or she cannot do anything!
Many have tried to comfort that neighbor by telling that neighbor of the goodness of God
when you were sick, or when you had lost your job, or
Some have a wonderful habit of saying encouraging things to those who are discouraged and downcast.
So, don't say that you cannot do anything.
The encouraging of God's saints is one of the highest works in which any Christian can be occupied.
God will send prophets to His servants at times when they need to be rebuked.
When God wants to comfort them He will in some occasions send an angel to them
for that is the work of an angel.
Even Jesus had angels sent to minister to Him.
Angels ministered to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane when He was bowed down with sorrow.
Comforting is not ordinary work.
It is angelic work.
" There appeared unto him an angel strengthening him."
There is such a great need for Christians to do angelic work for there is so much hurt in our world.
A prophet was sent to warn the Israelites of their sin.
But when Gideon was to be encouraged to go and fight for his country,
it was the angel of the Lord that came to him.
We need Christians who will be encouragers.
So, when you comfort or console or encourage a soul that is cast down and discouraged,
you doing a most blessed work for the Lord.
This is a wonderful work for God.
Pray for that ability, and God will give you that wonderful gift.
And you thought you could do nothing!
And now I would speak to those who think that they have been placed on the sidelines.
There are people who can say I used to be useful, but my circumstances have changed.
I have changed my residence and I am not known to my new church.
I had done little or nothing lately, but I wish I could get to work.
Every pastor would hope that you will give yourself to serve for you are truly needed.
Some of God's best workers have been laid aside for long periods.
Remember the life of Moses.
When you find yourself in a retired or inactive position, then prepare for the time
when God will use you again.
God uses a prepared people!
When you are inactive, pray for those who are active.
Help them, and encourage them.
Do not allow yourself to get in that small, miserable attitude which complains and criticizes
and undervalues the work that is being carried on.
Please, don't be like that.
That doesn't please God!
There are those who cannot do something themselves so they become critical of those
who are trying their best and of those who are working.
Don't do that!
You must say, " If I cannot help, I will not hinder and I will not hurt, but I will help.
I will encourage my brethren!"
Then I would speak to those who serve under great difficulties.
If you serve God, you will encounter opposition.
But when you meet that opposition, encounter it with prayer.
Ask God to strengthen your soul.
Then, I would encourage those who are not appreciated.
Now I'm not going to say much about this because I don't have much sympathy with them.
There are those who can receive the smallest, maybe even unintended slight,
and they are overly sensitive.
If you listen closely, you can almost hear them say, " I do my best and nobody thanked me."
There was no applause.
This individual sees himself or herself as a martyr.
Jesus was criticized, and, as his servants, we will be criticized.
His brothers couldn't stand him, in fact, they despised him.
Yet, it was Joseph that saved the family and fed them in time of famine.
Think about David.
His brothers depreciated him.
They left him in charge of the sheep, and they go off to battle.
Yet, it was David who went into battle and won the victory by killing Goliath.
Let's us learn this lesson.
When we know we are doing our best and following God's will, we must pay no attention
to what others have to say of us.
Just get busy.
That is the best answer to evil accusations.
Did you enter into the work of the Lord in order to receive the honors and praises of men?
If so, then you need to retire.
This is a rotten motive -- in fact it is an evil motive.
So, don't ever be disheartened and discouraged when you hear no applause.
All you and I need to know is that we have done our best and God is pleased!
Then there are those who are discouraged because they have had so little success.
There are many who fear that they have worked in vain and spent their strength for nothing.
They do not see that planting the seed is tremendously important.
And it is encouraging to see good results from planning that seed.
But God would not have any of us to stop sowing just because one season
does not give a large harvest.
It would be tragic if our farmers abandoned their farming because they had a bad crop one year.
If we were to measure our future prospects by present failure, it would be a great pity.
If you have preached or taught God's Word or served with little success until now,
don't come to the unfounded conclusion that you will always be unsuccessful.
Non-success is a trial of faith.
Remember, the disciples toiled all night and caught nothing
Remember that our Lord taught us that some seed would fall on stony ground,
and some among the thorns, and that from these there would be no harvest.
It is our business to be faithful!
It is our business to scatter the seed!
Our Lord doesn't demand more of us than we can do, but He does demand
that we do what we can.
An American general was involved in a long, continuous battle.
He was asked, " What are you doing?"
He answered, " I am not doing much, but I keep pegging away."
That is what we must do!
We might not see great results, but we must keep pegging away.
Galatians 6: 9: "And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap,
if we faint not. "
We must lay aside any desire for prominence or prestige.
Our business and our joy is to live for God.
I would pray that every Christian would say with me: " I will live for Christ and I will serve Christ
when I'm young and as I grow older and till I die."
Humble service brings Glory to God.
Sermon was based on a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon from 1880.