Encourage one another every day, as long as it is called “today…”
Those of you who know me personally know how important encouragement is to me. It’s one of those things in life that just grips my heart. I’m a guy who oftentimes walks away from conversations with a marked tightness in my chest, praying that I was able to bring courage to whomever I was just talking with. Encouragement is life – to us, and to other people. But sometimes that’s easy to forget.
I was reminded again this morning.
I was listening to a message by Bill Hybels on my way into work and he related the following story told to him by a football coach friend of his. As the story goes, a former player returned to see this coach more than a decade after he had played for him. The player had never been very good, had not seen much playing time, and was not immediately memorable. However, he told the coach that he had changed his life, nonetheless.
The player talked about a day in practice where he made a foolish mistake and fumbled the ball. Irritated by his folly, an assistant coach came over, red-faced and screaming, and proceeded to dress him down somewhat cruelly in front of his teammates – everyone on the field was watching.
As the situation continued to deteriorate, the head coach quickly made us way over. Inserting himself between this player and the angry assistant coach, he shoved the assistant coach back several feet, quickly gaining everyone’s attention. The head coach then stated,”Coach him up, not down!” turned, and walked away.
That player went on to become the pastor of a large congregation, and has often thought back to that salient lesson when dealing with his people.
As for me, I’m going to file it away. “Coach him up!” I’ll think, when I’m encouraging another guy – even if he has made a mistake…
Paul says that we are to ‘coach each other up,’ every day! Why? So our hearts won’t be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin!
Coach each other up! Not down.