Thoughtful Encouragement

Thoughtful Encouragement

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24 NIV)

Miss Mary Olive McPhaul, Dean McPhaul, as most called her, was a faithful member and Sunday School teacher of First Baptist Church, Lafayette, until her death. Dean McPhaul came to Lafayette, and to the university there, as Associate Dean of Women in 1957. She retired as Dean of Student Life some four decades later. Though she never married or had children of her own, she was “like a mother” to decades of students.

She realized that one of her chief callings in life was to be an encourager. She certainly encouraged me with her affirming words, but also with specific action. Once she kept telling me that she wanted to do something for me, but did not know what to do. I kept telling her that she did not have to do anything for me, but pray. She insisted until one day she called me with the established plans of what she had planned for me. Actually what she wanted to do for me would be for my son, who was about nine years old at the time and crazy about all things related to sports.  She had arranged for my son and me to have a complete tour of all of the athletic facilities at our university, guided by the head baseball coach. We saw every inch of field, locker room, weight room, and training room, all along the way meeting various coaches and athletes who happened to be in the buildings at the time.  For my son, the day is a special memory.  For me, the day holds special meaning because the sole purpose was for my encouragement.

That’s exactly what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote, “And let us consider…” The goal was encouragement.  If that is the goal, he instructed us to give some thought to how we seek to encourage. Do you want to encourage someone today? Give it some thought before you take specific action.

October is Pastor’s Appreciation Month. The way that you show your appreciation need not be expensive, but let it be thoughtful.