Last Sunday my SS Class were thinking about the grumbles of the Israelites as they wandered through the desert. And I seemed to encounter a number of grumpy people in one way or another at the start of the week.
So it was great to get the exact opposite on Tuesday, at our Ladies' Fellowship.
Instead, our speaker, Brian, spoke about encouragement. It was a really challenging message and has been floating in and out of my thoughts ever since.
How much better, rather than grumbling about stuff, it is to make a positive encouraging comment!
"It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness"
Brian reminded us of Barnabas - "Son of encouragement" [actually his real name was Joseph - B was his nickname!] in the book of Acts.
So along with trying to give something 'concrete' away each day in Lent, I am now trying to give away a positive word of encouragement to somebody every day. Obviously there are lots of opportunities to do this when I am teaching, but I am looking for unexpected occasions as well. It is amazing how people respond.
I am grateful for the times people encourage me - often at times when I am wondering if I am doing the right thing, and their words really help.
Thanks Brian, for your words of encouragement which started this train of thought [shall we call you Barnabas now?!]
So let us not be weary in welldoing [as it says in both Galatians and 2Thessalonians, so it must be significant!] and keep on encouraging each other. [see Hebrews 10;24]
I don't know if my efforts at encouraging are 100% successful though - I encouraged Bob this week to get back to writing his blog, and he did. Trouble is, I am still not sure I understand what he has written!!
[note- I have not actually given away any items made of concrete, you understand, this is concrete as opposed to abstract!]