Can you think of a person who has encouraged you? Now think of someone who discouraged you. Which one most resembles you?
Encouragement is a catalyst for each of us to journey forward on Restoration Road. Cor is Latin for “heart.” Therefore, “encouragement” means “to restore another’s heart.” Encouragement breathes life into the heart; whereas, discouragement sucks the life right out of the heart.
Chris Schenkel, the Hall of Fame ABC sportscaster, was one of the greatest encouragers in my life. Whereas millions recognized him as an ABC sportscaster, I knew him as an “ABC encourager.” His heart beat with three characteristics that restored my heart. He was: (1) Aware, (2) a Builder, and (3) a Comforter.
Chris was aware of people’s hearts, desires, and lives. He remembered people’s names and details about their lives at a level that I had never seen. He called me weekly to check up on me. He was aware of all that was taking place in my life. During the season of life when I was living with a sand heart, he showed up in Scottsdale, Arizona, to surprise me the day before one of our auctions. He was on his way to be inducted into the Sports Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame and had received international publicity that week for his well-deserved achievement. He knew that I had been struggling. In the back seat of a limousine, he encouraged me in an unthreatening way — a way that only he could — because he was close enough relationally to be aware of my need.
I learned that if I was going to encourage others, I needed to assimilate the communication skills that made Chris aware of people’s hearts, desires, and lives. First, Chris locked eyes with every person he met. Second, he asked questions that communicated genuine interest and revealed the heart, desires, and life of the person. Third, Chris listened intently, often repeating what he had heard. These three traits helped me receive restoration as well as bring it to others.
Scripture records that Jesus was also acutely aware of the people He encountered. He locked eyes with them, asked questions that revealed their hearts, and he listened intently. As a result, His encouragement restored them. There is something about encouragement that restores the heart.
What about you? Are you an encourager? Are you aware of the hearts, desires, and lives of those around you? The writer of Hebrews said, “Let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). Today, become aware of those around you and breathe life into them.