By Robert E. Guinn
Sometimes all it takes is an encouraging word or comment. It does not take a grand show or a spectacle to inspire others. Planting a simple encouraging thought in someone’s heart can impact his or her soul for years to come.
Seventeen years ago a young man delivered his first public devotional in front of 200-300 campers and staff. The previous year at camp, having witnessed another boy in his cabin do the same, caused this eleven-year-old to think, “If he can do that, I can too.” He sheepishly spoke with his counselor and volunteered to lead the devotional in front of the entire camp. Later the camp director told him, “I’ll have to tell your preacher to let you preach now.” Taken back by the compliment, all the boy could focus on was the statement, “You preach now.” Without realizing it, the camp director became this young man’s first of many mentors who would guide him in being a minister of the Gospel.
“You then, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also,” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Jesus described the word of God as a seed that is planted into the hearts of men (Luke 8:4-15). His lesson focuses mainly on the condition of men’s hearts in receiving God’s word (path, rocky, thorns, and good). We must also notice that someone is scattering and planting that seed. One of God’s primary instruments for producing converted and convicted hearts is His faithful servants. As we read in the New Testament: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth,” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Here Paul revealed that all Christians have a role in encouraging faith and growth in souls. In other words, God has called His children to mentor to the next generation of the faithful (Titus 2).
Mentoring can be a one-time occurrence or an on-going process. Either way, the Bible encourages Christians to harness every opportunity to inspire one another in service to the Lord (Hebrews 10:19-25). From a simple encouraging word to a Bible study, God can use each moment to grow His people both physically and spiritually.
The word of God is the ever-growing seed that waits to take root in our minds and hearts. It is also ready to be planted in the hearts of others. As Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few; therefore pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send out laborers into his harvest,” (Matthew 9:37-38).
Let us not only pray, but let our prayers have feet, hands, and mouths. Faith does not happen by accident. Faith grows and develops with a purpose. Someone is sent with a simple message, and that message grows in the heart and soul of the hearer (Romans 10:10-17). Let us now go and grow. “You preach now.”
- Robert Guinn preaches for the Central Church of Christ in Paducah KY. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centralchurchofchrist.org