Have you ever been around someone who makes you better at something? Or someone who has the gift of encouragement? People like that seem to draw out the best in us. They make us pay attention more, do more and give a better effort. I’ve had a few people like that in my life. Each time you walk away from them you feel like you’re better for just having been with them. I always walk away from those conversations wanting to be like them and praying that God would help me to. I think of the John Maxwell quote where he says that we are either a plus or a minus to everyone we meet. I always want to be a plus, but I’ve learned it takes intentionality to do that.
David and Jonathan in 1 Samuel 18 had the kind of relationship where it was mutually beneficial. From the get go these two were around each other. They were both warriors in their own rights. Johnathan was the kings son and David was a shepherd. Even though they came from different worlds and there was a financial difference, they were still able to add value to each other. Jonathan was willing to give up his place as king for David. They had a serious bond that many of us need in our life. I believe bonds like that start with us believing we have something to bring to the table that’s beneficial to others.
In Romans 1:12, Paul writes to believers, “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours” (NLT). We all want to be encouraged by someone else, but we need to remember that we have the power to be an encouragement to someone no matter how highly we esteem them because they need encouragement too. Look around you today as you go about your business. As God to open your eyes to see people who need encouragement. Then be bold and intentional about adding value and encouragement to them. Don’t wait for someone to be an encourager to you first. Step out in faith and encourage someone, then watch how you will be encouraged too. You have value that you can add to someone’s life today. Don’t hold back. Give it away like you’re made of it.
One of the things Mary Kay taught her salespeople was that every person they meet has an invisible sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.” She knew the key to building great relationships was to treat each person as important. John Maxwell says the way he adds value to his teammates is that he imagines each person has a “10” stamped on their forehead. He’s found that when he treats people based on their potential than their performance, they respond by increasing their performance. He also says that when we are with people, we either add value or subtract it. Adding value takes an intentional effort. You and I have to push past our unconscious biases to make sure we add value to each person we come across.
The Bible uses the word “honor” in these cases. Over and over it tells us to honor people or to add value to them. Part of the culture my church tries to cultivate is honoring people. We say, “Honor up, honor down and honor all around.” We want people to see others as being made in the image of God, and are therefore worthy of being honored and respected. It’s easy to honor and add value to people who are our leaders, but are you honoring those who aren’t as well off or as far along as you? Do you carry the attitude that you are better than others whether consciously or unconsciously? The Bible is clear that valuing, esteeming and honoring all people is a priority for us as believers who represent the God who knitted each person in their mother’s womb and made each person in His image.
Here are some Bible verses on honoring people.
1. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3 NLT
2. That is also why you pay taxes, because the authorities are working for God when they fulfill their duties. Pay, then, what you owe them; pay them your personal and property taxes, and show respect and honor for them all.
Romans 13:6-7 GNT
3. Honor and help those widows who are truly widowed [alone, and without support].
1 Timothy 5:3 AMP
4. Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God. I am GOD.
Leviticus 19:32 MSG
5. Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.
Romans 12:10 TPT
Thanks to @perrygrone for making this photo available freely on @unsplash
One of most accurate memes I’ve seen during this quarantine is, “Check on your extroverted friends. We’re not ok!” With everyone working and staying at home, people are looking for ways to connect. One way is to do a Facebook live video. In face so many are doing it now that Facebook has had to shift its resources and focus to improving that feature because of the use it’s getting. I also saw a Hallmark commercial where they are giving three free cards to everyone who requests them on their website. They’re wanting people to stay connected and to send encouraging words to someone else during this time. There is a unique opportunity right now to speak life into other people like never before.
If you watch the news, it’s hard to find hope of this ending anytime soon. The no school and stay home orders keep getting extended. Unemployment is rising every day as businesses struggle to adapt and fear keeps consumers home and from buying. Hope is what people are hungry for. In fact, I read an article yesterday from Pew research that said over 50% of people have now prayed for Coronavirus to end. People who haven’t talked to God in years or who have doubted His existence are now reaching out. The need for good news and hope is great. Have you prayed to ask God how He can use you to meet that need?
Don’t panic. Most of what God asks us to do are small steps of faith. It could be a Facebook live video, commenting on a post, sending an email (or card) or posting a prayer. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits” (TPT). You have the ability to bring healing right now. You have the ability to speak beautiful, life giving words. All it takes is for you to seek God on how He wants to use you during this time. You can do it because the same Spirit that dwelled in Christ, dwells in you. You are empowered to make a difference right now and to release sweetness to souls. You can make a difference today through the words you use.