Whenever I see a beautiful, useful or original item that is on sale, I purchase it to add to our Gift Cupboard collection. When the birthday of a friend comes up, I simply go to my Gift Cupboard and shop for some gifts that are perfectly suited to her; for a special something that I know she’d love and cherish. Or when someone I know is in need of encouragement and could use a sweet surprise, I dive in to my special supply and present them with something to brighten their day.
But lately, I’ve noticed something unsettling about my Gift Cupboard. It’s getting fuller and fuller of lovely things, almost to the point of overflowing. The reason isn’t that I have been buying more than I would have in the past. The reason, I now realize, is that lately I’ve been giving less and less gifts to others. I’ve become a Dead Sea.
You see, I’m from Israel, and in Israel we have two seas. The most famous one is the Sea of Galilee, which you will be very familiar with from reading the New Testament. This sea has multiple inlets of water, and an outlet into the Jordan River. It serves as the primary source of fresh water for the entire nation of Israel!
Another phenomenon that Israelis are proud to call their own is the Dead Sea. Water flows into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River, but unlike the Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea has no outlet. All the water simply evaporates due to the hot climate, and the salt accumulation is so dense that no living organism can survive in its waters. It is also called Yam HaMavet – The Sea of Death.
Back to my analogy… As I recently opened my Gift Cupboard, with its contents almost tumbling out on me from behind the door, I was struck with how this once meaningful idea now signified a lifeless source of materialistic accumulation, rather than the encouraging blessing it was originally intended to be. My Gift Cupboard has lately had an inlet, but no outlet.By not giving freely, we withhold blessing, encouragement, and joy from others. Click To Tweet
And I realize that we as believers do this more than we’d care to admit.
Perhaps, like me, you are guilty of some of the following:
We withhold comfort from a grieving sister in the Lord because we feel as though we don’t know what to say.
We withhold provision from a struggling family because we are ‘looking out for number one’ in case we might need the extra cash in a week or two.
We withhold hospitality from the lonely because it’s easier to just eat by ourselves and not have to make an effort to converse with someone we don’t know that well.
And we withhold encouragement even from those we love and care about deeply because we are too distracted with our own lives (or too busy and bothered to open our Gift Cupboard and wrap a little something up that will bless someone’s socks off).
God is the God of Encouragement (Romans 15:5)
Whether you’re comforting a family member, showing hospitality to a brother, giving a missionary some funds, or sending a card to a friend, you’re being an encouragement and serving the God of Encouragement by being His arms and His legs to those He has brought along your path to encourage!
We’re all called to encourage others, and amazingly the perks aren’t only felt by the one we’re encouraging!
Jesus Himself stated that ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive!’ (Acts 20:35).
We think we’ll be depleting ourselves and our resources in order to encourage others, but the very opposite is true. We will be the blessed ones! Bursting at the seams with joy that we have been used to glorify His Name on this Earth in precious, little ways!There are countless ways to encourage others which don’t even require much energy, time, or money. Click To Tweet
Below this post you will find some great ideas.
The thing is that in our lives we need to regularly examine ourselves to know which “Sea” we are…
I for one don’t want to be the Dead Sea, receiving good gifts from the Lord, but failing to pass the blessing and encouragement on to others. I desire to be as vibrant as the Sea of Galilee, enjoying the inlet of God’s Grace and Truth, and being an outlet of His love to those around me.
Which sea are you today, dear friend?
I have recently joined an inspiring 21 Days of Encouragement campaign that Dayspring are holding. I love what they’re aspiring to influence others to do; to commit to encourage at least one person each day for 21-straight days.
I have already found after just a few days that all my senses are hard at work to find people to encourage, and it is already becoming a beautiful way of life that doesn’t require much effort!
Care to join me for Dayspring’s 21 Days of Encouragement Campaign?
You will find some great, practical ideas of different ways to encourage others here:
Dayspring are also offering a Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion of the most gorgeous, meaningful, and touching boxed cards here till the end of May! Here are just a few options:
Or send an eCard from the large collection at Dayspring here.