If we are to encourage one another as the Bible instructs, that means we need to take the time to be a bystander every now and then. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
Sidelines? Did you ever stop to consider how important they are? Yet, if the playing field is where all the action is taking place, of what importance could the sideline possibly be? If you have ever been a football player at the bottom of a tackling pile, a runner sprinting to the finish line or an athlete sprinting up and down the basketball court with a dribble, you know howdeline is. Even though every winning athlete is motivated from the heart to excel, in the end, without the support from the sidelines. it is often very difficult to maintain that level of excellence. You need the yells, the waves and the cheers to be fully motivated to go on. But, being on the sidelines doesn’t really seem to be much of an inspiring job, does it? Bystanding when you could be playing seems so trivial, so meaningless.
Chuck Swindoll tells the story of a little boy who found he had a special gift. One day a bird hopped up to him and the boy reached down and touched its little head. The bird enjoyed the touch and actually let the lad stroke it several times before he hopped away again. Soon he found his “calling”--patting little birds on the head. The birds would approach, lower their little feathered pates to be patted, sigh deeply, and walk away satis- fied. It brought him no end of fulfillment--in spite of the teasing he took from others. “What’s wrong with patting birds on the head?” he wanted to know. “What’s wrong with it?” his embarrassed friends replied. “No one else does it!” If your niche is encouraging, says Swindoll, please don’t stop. If it is embracing, demonstrating warmth, compassion, and mercy to feathers that have been ruffled by offense and bruised by adversity, for goodness sake, keep stroking. Don’t quit, whatever you do. If God made you a “patter,” then keep on patting to the glory of God. (Chuck Swindoll, Swindoll's Ultimate Book of Illustrations and Quotes, Encouragement, p 179)
We live in a world filled with “patting” opportunities. Ruffled feathers? They are all around us. If we are to encourage one another as the Bible instructs, that means we need to take the time to be a bystander every now and then. We need to be willing to stand on the sidelines and cheer and shout for all we are worth just so others may be thrust into the spotlight and given the motivating encouragement that they need to finish the race and overcome their own weaknesses and dis- abilities. Believe it or not, those kind of situations are commonplace around us every day. There’s that coworker, friend, child or spouse who could use a little nudge and a push today and your smile and kind words are just what they need to carry on. God’s plan has a place for bystanders as well as warriors. There is no shame in standing on the sidelines.
We pray. Heavenly Father, help us to look for opportunities all around us to encourage one another as you instruct, to be willing to stand on the sidelines and cheer and shout for others and be the motivating encouragement that others need to finish the race and overcome their own weaknesses and disabilities. Teach us that those kind of situations are commonplace and all we need to do is to apply a little nudge and a push today so that a smile and kind words can be delivered where you want them sent. Forgive us when our warrior nature keeps us from the important work of being holy bystanders. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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