“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” – Romans 15:2

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”– 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” –  Romans 15:5

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Of course, it is critical for us to always encourage ourselves to achieve those things that are important to us.  It is also important to encourage other people.  It is amazing how effective supporting other people can be.  Sometimes, an initial act of encouragement leads to life changes for people experiencing major challenges.  Frequently life changes lead to happiness for them and other people.

Also, it is important for us to encourage people we only know causally.  The long-term effect of helping people improve their lives adds value for all of us.

Rose with her professor

Rose studied very hard in high school to earn top grades and prepare for the SAT exams to enter a top university.  She always wanted to study journalism and become a leader in the news industry.

After gaining acceptance to one of the top universities in the country, Rose felt very good about her opportunities.  After she completed the first semester at the university, she realized that college required significantly more work than she had experienced.   She was determined to finish at the top of her class or near the top.  She did her best to look better than everyone else, especially to the professors.  She avoided the study groups because those groups helped the other students do well. 

When she responded to professors during a class session, she would make sure she did not share credit for any of her ideas with any of the other students.  When she observed traits from the professors, she would not share that information with any of the other students. 

During the first semester, her plan worked for her.  At the end of the semester, she finished near the top of her class.  However, during the second semester, she was not as successful.  The courses required more work creating documents and providing different views of specific news events.  The students that worked in groups were producing more comprehensive documents.  Rose quickly fell to the middle of the class because she did not have the variety in her documents that many of the other students had.  Rose realized that she was falling short of her life goals.  She became depressed. 

When she went home for a weekend, she spent time with her mother.  Rose explained the situation to her mother.  Her mother listened and then gave her strong feedback.  Her mother told her that she was raised as a strong Christian who believed in helping other people.  Her mother told her that her goal in excelling in journalism was to help other people learn the truth so they could apply that truth to their own lives.  Her mother told her that by deliberately trying to make herself look better than everyone else, she was defeating her own goals.  Her mother told her that she should help other people and not worry about her class standing if she wanted to be successful.  God’s plan is for us to help everyone be successful.  Her mother told her to join study groups and do everything she could to help the other students do well. 

Rose thought about her mother’s advice.  She did not like it at first, but then she thought about changing her goal from doing better than everyone else, to helping the other classmates.  She realized that she was not supporting her Christian ideals when she worked to make herself look better than others. 

Rose did not finish at the top of her class at the university, but she felt so good about helping so many other students achieve their goals.  As she worked through the university program, she began to do better and help other students at the same time.  She realized that the same concept of helping other people applied to everything in life, not just university. 

It is important for us to understand that we should encourage other people to be successful.  There will be times when other people will encourage us.  More importantly, we will all benefit from encouraging other people. 

When we encourage other people, we help everyone, including ourselves.

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.