March 17

Deuteronomy 1:38 38But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it.

How appropriate that the one, whose name in English is Jesus, should lead them into the Promised Land. Jesus leads us to inherit all that God has for us. There in the wilderness, Moses was telling the people that Joshua was going to need their encouragement.

Leadership is listed as one of the gifts in Romans 12:8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. Just because some have and use this gift does not mean they can do it on their own. They need others using their gifts as well. The first gift mentioned in the Romans passage is encouragement.

We think of the gifts as uniquely New Testament, but they were there to some extent in the Old Testament too. Leaders deal with discouragement because they see more of the problems than most people do. They are also the target of criticism when things are not going well. Some are not satisfied because their personal preferences are not acted upon and let the leader know it. Many times Moses had experienced the discouragement that comes with leading at God's direction. He knew how much encouragement is needed.

Encourage your leaders. Of course, they can get a big head and become prideful like anyone else, but most of them need to hear an honest encouraging word. Look for the things that you sense are the leading of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the elders around you, and encourage them with the testimony of how it has ministered to you. They don't need flattery, but they do need honest encouragement.

Consider dropping them a note or giving them a call. Anyone can be an encourager.