Saturday, January 9, 2016

En + courage =

I am a grammar geek, I admit it. I love words. Maybe that's why today during my run my mind wandered into the area of words, specifically the word "encourage."

I have always considered that one of my main purposes in life is to encourage, but I also figured it was one of those "also ran" kind of callings. Everyone likes to be encouraged, but it's not one of those amazing talents like teaching or preaching or singing. It's just, well...encouragement. That is, until I thought about it today.

The word "encourage" is made up of the word "courage" and the prefix "en". (Didn't know you were going to get an English lesson today, did you!) The word courage is a noun that means the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. There are few things I can think of that we need today more than courage.

The prefix "en" means to cause (a person or thing) to be in "the place, condition or state named by the stem." It can also mean "to cause to be in," or "on all sides, completely" as in enclose. So when you add the prefix "en" to the word "courage," you are saying "to be in the place or state of courage; to cause to be in courage; and to be on all sides, completely surrounded by courage." I'm beginning to think encouraging others is pretty important!

There's a lot of verses about courage and encouragement in the Bible. Here's just a few:

1 Thessalonians 5:11 
God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life. Whether we’re awake with the living or asleep with the dead, we’re alive with him! So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Psalm 10:17
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 -15 (MSG)
Get along among yourselves, each of you doing your part. Our counsel is that you warn the freeloaders to get a move on. Gently encourage the stragglers, and reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet. Be patient with each person, attentive to individual needs. And be careful that when you get on each other's nerves you don't snap at each other. Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out. 
(I really like that part about "WHEN you get on each other's nerves"....let's me know it's normal, and I'm not necessarily less spiritual when it happens!)

And how about this one!
Proverbs 29:10
Murderers hate honest people; moral folks encourage them.

It would seem that helping others have courage is pretty important. But it's not just others we are to encourage, we are to encourage ourselves! During one of David's most difficult times, he encouraged himself in the Lord...

1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV)
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

When those around you have no courage to give, you have to encourage YOURSELF in the Lord.

I am blessed to have a lot of encouragers in my life (and a few who seem to be the kryptonite of courage!)  

As the world seems to in some ways be spiraling out of control, we have never had a greater need of courage. So how about it? All you who think you really don't have any gift other than encouraging, are you ready to get busy? Your gift is needed. Let's put the "en" to the "courage" and shine.

No comments: