• Rossendale Circuit

From the Garden Bench - Encourager

Words by David Hollows


We will meet again


Words from the famous Second World War song? If you know the tune, then please hum along. If you know the words and can sing them, even better, why not have a go.

Actually, these were the final four words spoken by our Queen when she addressed the nation on Palm Sunday evening to encourage our country in this difficult time. Whatever your opinion of the monarchy, the Queen has the gift of choosing and saying the words of encouragement we need at the right time.


Please be assured that the title above is not a mistake. The English verb as with the French verb above is linked closely to other languages. Being inter-connected is essential at all times as we rely so heavily on others so often strangers we will never meet; to care for us, to provide our daily essentials, to love us as family and friends.


Language is important and we should use words to build each other up, not tear others down. We can assassinate people with our words even more so than by our actions. Currently the Thursday evening demonstration of appreciation of clapping on our doorsteps is a wonderful example of encouraging each other and those whose dedication to others is awesome. Expressing our thanks to the refuse collectors and cashiers on the supermarket check-out is also important.


Photo by Marco Bianchetti via Unsplash

So encouragement is essential and not just in these difficult days. In certain traditions of the Christian Church one man of the Bible is venerated as the Saint of Encouragement; Barnabas.

We read the story of Barnabas in Acts chapter 11 verses 22 – 26 although Barnabas does feature earlier in the life of the fledgling church.

Barnabas is sent to Antioch to represent the Jerusalem Church and the God-given characteristics he has brings wonderful results. We are told that Barnabas is a person of joy, encouragement, faith, goodness, he is filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. No wonder, the first believers in Antioch were wowed by Barnabas.


Barnabas was also used by God to introduce Paul to the Apostles in Jerusalem after his conversion and to encourage other believers to accept that God was calling non-Jewish converts to faith.


Barnabas was certainly a man with a mission but his heart was of encouragement.

So, how does God encourage you in your relationship with Him and others? How do you know that your current lifestyle is in line with God’s will for you? How are you growing in and making use of the gifts God has given you?


Barnabas certainly did not hold back and evidenced in his own life and those around him God at work, making a difference.

Photo by Michael Heuss via Unsplash


Also, how do we encourage others to consider faith?


In these demanding days of uncertainty how do we encourage others to trust in God? In this time when folks around us are struggling, how do we as Church encourage each other as well as those around us?


As we have evidenced, people are connecting more and more often with each other in a variety of ways. People are supporting others in daily tasks. Both words and actions are being used to encourage others. But as followers of Jesus we need to take every opportunity to point people to our God.

Certainly Jesus did this. He did not condemn nor judge. Instead He healed, set free and saved. He encouraged many by His words and his actions. Every time we make a phone call or send a text or email or shop for another person, may our prayer be that be God takes this and uses it as an act of encouragement on our behalf.

For those of you who grew up through the days of traditional Sunday School, you may well remember this golden-oldie of a children’s hymn by Margaret Cropper;

Jesus’ hands were kind hands,

Doing good to all;

Healing pain and sickness,

Blessing children small;

Washing tired feet

And saving those who fall;

Jesus’ hands were kind hands.

Doing good to all

Take my hands, Lord Jesus,

Let them work for you,

Make them strong and gentle,

Kind in all I do;

Let me watch you, Jesus,

Till I’m gentle too,

Till my hands are kind hands,

Quick to work for you.

- Margaret Cropper

Photo by Jude Beck Via Unsplash


You may find the following prayers useful;

Give us courage, O Lord, to stand up and be counted, to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. To stand up for ourselves when it is needful to do so. Let us fear nothing more than we fear you. Let us love nothing more than we love you, for then we shall fear nothing. Let us seek no other peace but the peace which is yours and make us its instruments, opening our eyes and our ears and our hearts, so that we should know always what work of peace and encouragement we should do for you.

- Alan Paton

Make us, O blessed Master, strong in heart, full of courage, fearless of danger, holding pain and danger cheap when they lie in the path of our duty. May we be strengthened with all might by your Spirit in our hearts

- F.B.Meyer

CHALLENGE;

We all have stories to share of how good God is and has been to us.

God may well be nudging you to share your story or thoughts from your garden bench or study rocking chair or settee.

I would like to ENCOURAGE you to consider writing for our webpage – please contact Rev. David Burrow for more details or Contact Us.


Signing off; your local Lay-worker, David Hollows

© 2020 Rossendale Methodist Circuit