DAVID Nankervis says there’s no better feeling than giving someone a second chance at life. As a volunteer surf life saver with Torquay Life Saving Club, he has brought six people back from the brink through his first aid skills. David is proud to be a life saver and part of the vast life saving network which continues to provide valuable water safety services to communities throughout Australia.
Do you want to be a life saver too? Have you noticed that there are also many who are drowning on dry land? With more and more people finding themselves drowning or near drowning in the turbulent seas of life, what the world needs now are more and more life savers – individuals who can point them to the hope found in Jesus. If you can give someone a second chance at life like David Nankervis, or if you could change someone’s life forever, would you?
Yes! You can also be a life saver, but not as a rescuer of people drowning in waters but a life saver of people drowning in the ocean of life’s problems.
Everyday, we find individuals struggling with personal and social issues – unemployment, family or marital conflicts, homelessness, teenage pregnancies, financial difficulties – all kinds. Name it, someone’s suffering from it.
Just look around you, the people you see represent a tiny tip of a massive iceberg of men, women, boys, and girls, for whom your life saving stint maybe essential. He or she may be your sick neighbor, a friend who just lost her job, a relative whose business just failed or a hungry stranger. And then there are those who are grieving over the recent lose of a spouse, a child, parent, or a friend… Sometimes, the sadness of those who mourn casts a spell of loneliness too powerful for spoken words or shallow songs to break. In all of those people mentioned, what is missing? To paraphrase the statement of Oscar Wilde:
“Something is dead in each of them, And what is dead is hope.”
In a world that says no, we need people who says a constant yes – an encourager, a comforter – a life saver. The world is never short of people to encourage or to comfort. For all you know, the person you might be encouraging now is already drowning in the waters of depression and may have already been entertaining thoughts of ending his or her life. In fact, it has been reported by Psych Central News that depression is now taking a serious toll around the world and it has been found that globally, incidence of suicide is escalating.
Hence, we need more life savers – we need more encouragers! We need more comforters! We all know that the world can never have too many encouragers! To encourage is to inspire someone with hope, courage or confidence; telling someone, “You can do it! Hold on to God. Keep on praying. He will answer. Everything will be fine. . . ”
Encouragement to your heart is what oxygen is to your lungs. Many would criticize you – a thousand who tell you when you “blew it”, who manage to flash that “I told you so” look when things aren’t going well. Yet one person with a word of encouragement can do more to lift you up than the whole lot put together. A word of encouragement can make the difference between success and failure, life and death.
Anyone can be an encourager! You don’t need money, professional degree or special talents. All you need is a caring and understanding heart. You see, God calls each of us to be an encourager. 1Thess. 5:11 says, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.”
So, C’mon Let’s Build ‘Em Up in a World that Tears ‘Em Down
Develop the art of encouragement by practicing the following:
1. Focus on a positive aspect of a person, and say it. Your comments should focus upon something positive, leave out negative observations. Mixed messages like, “your sales were pretty good last month, but if you had taken my advice, they would have been better,” don’t qualify as encouragement.
2. Be sincere in what you say. Encouragement is not flattery; it is a decision to say something good that is true. A phone call, a note, a few words in passing – these do a lot to boost others in a world that puts people down.
3. Cultivate encouragement as a habit. One of the reasons, we give so little of encouragement is that our old nature tends to make us look for the flaws and failures of others. In building each other up, we build up ourselves as well.
Just think about this – encouragement is not a difficult task. It can come in the form of a gentle hug, a positive note, a kind word at just the right moment, a pat on the back, a sincere smile, a simple phone call, a listening ear. . . and the list can go on and on. . .
We must admit, much of life seems to be working against us, and that’s not pessimism – it’s a realistic observation. For every person who pats us on the back, there are nine others who clobber us. Therefore, we have to cultivate the attitude of encouragement.
The late Dr. Maya Angelu once said, “Be a rainbow in someone’s clouds” – a metaphor of the simple act of giving others hope and encouragement.
Her own life tells a story of traumas, difficulties and unsettling childhood. She was open about her lack of education. She felt that being poor, black and uneducated meant there was no hope that she would ever have the life she longed for.
Then came the rainbow in her cloud, her paternal grandmother, who told young Maya that one day she would be a teacher to millions and would do so in many languages. Her grandmother’s love and support and steadfast belief in her helped Maya persevere and overcome her feelings of inferiority.
Dr. Angelu used the gift from her grandmother to become one of the most respected and beloved writers, poets and performers. She has given hope and encouragement to millions. Her role as a teacher has taken on many forms, perhaps even beyond what her grandmother imagined.
Dr. Angelu had always been proud to say that her grandmother was not only her mentor but also her encourager – her rainbow in her clouds.
Likewise, as Christians, let us not forget that we have a Christian duty to encourage one another. Let us point to one another the hope that is found in Jesus. We know that without hope, we have nothing in life. Christian hope is what gets us through. And thanks to Jesus Christ, we have LOTS to hope for because He promised us glory. It is comforting to know that no matter what troubles we are currently experiencing in our life, we will always have salvation waiting for us.
Let us remind each other that God the Father is always watching out for us. Christian hope is based on this simple fact – never in our life will we be alone. Jesus Christ walks beside us through our Christian path and this is the reason that we should feel hope.
By giving encouragement and hope through feeding someone’s mind and soul, you never know how many lives you might ultimately touch and save. Talk about being a rainbow in someone’s cloud! An encourager! A comforter! A life saver! This is the challenge for every Christian.
I encourage you to find someone to encourage today and tomorrow and the next day. Like Dr. Angelu’s grandmother, be the someone that a child or a friend remembers as one of their great encouragers.
Someone once said, “The greatest thing that a man can do for his Heavenly Father. . . is to be kind to some of the Father’s other children!” I cannot think of anyone kinder than those who encourage and give hope. . .Let our hearts be like our Lord Jesus Christ – the Lord of life savers who walks on water. Sure, we can make a difference – one heart at a time. And hey! Why not now?