The Value of Encouragement

 “Encourage each other every day while you have the opportunity”
                                                                                        –Hebrews 3:13 (GOD’S WORD® Translation)

My wife and I recently spent a wonderful week on a cruise ship.  Most evenings we attended the scheduled entertainment.  Several times one of the entertainers or the cruise director encouraged the audience to give our generous applause to the entertainers, if we enjoyed what they were doing.  Several entertainers said something like, “The more you applaud, the harder we work.”

My first thought was, ‘the entertainers are getting paid to do their best.  Why should I have to applaud to get them to work harder?’  Then, I thought some more about it.  What a lesson in life!  Don’t we all appreciate some applause once in a while?  Wouldn’t we all work (or try) a bit harder if people were applauding our efforts?

The leadership and motivation literature is totally supportive of the value of encouragement.  Transformational leadership researchers Kouzes and Posner (2003), in their book Encouraging the Heart, wrote that when asked the question, “When you get encouragement, does it help you perform at a higher level?” 98 % of respondents said, “Yes” (p.4).[1]

Sports fans understand the concept of encouragement.  Fans generally believe they can influence the outcome of a game.  That’s why they yell and scream the way they do.  The odds makers for NFL betting regularly give 3.5 points to the home team because of the impact of the home-field advantage.  Much of the advantage is due to the home crowd cheering for their team.

The Bible speaks of encouragement.  Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (English Standard Version).  There are no more fitting words than those of encouragement.  Look for someone to applaud.  Catch someone doing something well and reward them with a thoughtful word of appreciation.  Encourage someone today.

Want to know more about encouragement from a biblical perspective?  Check out the following resources from Got Questions Ministries:

Questions for Reflection:  In what ways can you more intentionally begin to encourage others today?  Who in your sphere of influence is most in need of encouragement?

[1] Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Encouraging the heart: A leader’s guide to rewarding and recognizing others. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

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