Engage, Encourage, Enable
As we move forward in this new year, I want to share some options for your commitment. Many of us fail to follow through on our resolutions. Here is hoping that this year you will make one or more of these options come true.
The resolutions fall into 3 basic categories:
Engage, Encourage, Enable
The invitation is that this will be a year in which we strive to be more engaging. Let us seek to look beyond ourselves and our inner circle.
I am suggesting that this should be a year in which we widen our sphere of influence. Let us be more open to the possibility of interacting with others.
Instead of holding our heads straight and avoiding contact let us change our mindset and actively seek to connect with others.
Let us banish the word “Shy” from our vocabularies and work to broaden our network of friends and associates.
Each new contact that we make represents an option for new possibilities. So the more contacts we make the more possibilities become available to us.
Proactive networking and being open to engaging new contacts is one of the keys to success.
“To the weak I became weak in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some of them.” 1Co 9:22
I would also like for us to commit to making real connections this year. Move at least one of the surface interactions that we have to a genuine friendship.
Move from exchanging pleasantries to a genuine interest in issues of concern to the other party.
Is there scope this year to learn more about someone’s hopes, fears and aspirations?
Can we take time to go beyond the warm greeting to better appreciate what makes someone else tick?
In an increasingly sceptical and untrusting world, the call of the Great Commission to go into the world and teach is going require us to engage others on a real basis.
“Show me that you care, if you want me to listen to you.”
The politicians are increasingly being confronted with the phenomenon of people simply opting out when they fail to get the feeling that their interests are of genuine concern.
Let us reflect on Christ’s genuine concern about the well being of others. He dealt with their health concerns and took swift action to deal with their hunger. He sought to resolve their understanding of the law and how to relate to the authorities.
Above all, He was open to contact from anyone. He was not a respecter of persons and His mission led Him to constantly make new contacts.
Let this year be a year of engagement.
I suggest that we do not limit our commitment to engagement only to connection with others.
Let this be a year in which we open ourselves to something new.
This might be a new hobby, or a new type of book or show. Initiation of a fitness routine. Going on a diet. Going back to school. Starting a new business.
Let this be a year of new beginnings… a year in which we engage something different.
I would also like for this year to be a year of encouragement.
The environment is overrun with negative sentiments. Predictions of hard times abound. Doom and gloom have been our constant companions.
I suggest that we lift the veil. I suggest that we replace the forecast of dark clouds with expectations of bright sunny skies.
The potential impact of a change of mindset is generally under-estimated.
“Peter answered him, “Lord, if it’s you, order me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come on!” So Peter got down out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came to Jesus.” Mat 14:28 – 29
I was able to walk on hot, flaming coals bare footed without being seared because of a change of mindset.
Let us focus our energies on being encouraging in our thoughts, words and action. Let us adopt positive mindsets this year. Let us recall that with God all things are possible Matt 19:26.
Let us base our faith on the fact that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13.
So, in our conversations let us strive to sound notes of encouragement versus discouragement.
We can take the commitment to be encouraging further. We can actively cheer on others in their pursuit of positive goals or in the honest performance of tasks that they have been assigned.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24
Let the phrase “Well done!” roll off our tongues more often. Let us be there to say “Don’t give up! You can do it! Persevere, the victory will be yours!”
Lay any temptation to tear down to rest this year. This year you only have eyes for positive outcomes. Thoughts of failure are banished. Disappointments may come but we know that they will be fleeting and victory will be yours in due course.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 New International Version (NIV)
Our encouragement should also embrace helping others to remain in the faith.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness”. Heb 3:13
Let us make it a point of duty this year to help others in their Christian walk. Let us encourage a brother or sister to greater levels of commitment and service.
If the opportunity presents itself, strive to restore someone who has fallen away.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal 6: 1 -3
Our next commitment is to be enabling this year.
As we become more engaging and widen our network of contacts. And as we encourage others and ourselves to positive achievement, we will have created opportunities for us to become enablers.
Each of us has the capacity to help someone to achieve one of their goals.
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17
This year we should strive to translate “good wishes” and encouraging words into tangible action.
As we becoming more engaging and as we strive to be encouraging let us find ways to actively enable others as well.
Our enabling action may come in many different forms. It need not require material resources. A simple word of advice could make a huge difference in someone’s life.
Maybe just sitting quietly with someone as they work through a challenging situation may enable them to move forward with their life.
The key is to be on the lookout for opportunities to make a difference. No longer opt to be a bystander. Put up your hand and be counted. Reach out and lend a hand or provide a shoulder. Be a sounding broad. Give someone the assurance that you are there for them.
This year commit to enabling others on their life journey.
In closing, your most significant action in enabling others would be to share the Gospel with them.
No act of empowerment can compare with that of leading someone to Christ. In order to do so you will have to engage and encourage them.
Share the good news of Christ’s sacrificial death to reconcile us to God, the need for repentance, public acknowledgement of Jesus and baptism for the remission of sins.
On a personal level, this is a year for getting things right with God.
We are committing to obeying the plan of salvation before it is eternally too late.
We are committing now to being fully aware of our deceitful SELF and to call out the impostor every time it appears.
We are committing to hungering after righteousness.
We are committing to devoting ourselves to immersion in God’s word on a daily basis.
We are committing to applying its teachings to our lives.
This year we will engage, encourage and enable.
God bless you!