Over the past few years when I have been discouraged, I find myself heading to visit my friend, Heather. We always sit at the kitchen table and chat, and amidst the normal chaos of her life – small children, a million projects, meal preparations, phone ringing, etc. – I always find encouragement. There is a peace, a calm that prevails over and above the mayhem. Without fail when I am low, Heather always makes a cup of her tea and I sip on it while I share my sorrows.
Sometimes she has it on the table before I get there, and sometimes she gets up while we are talking and serves it to me. She never asks whether or not I want it, she just knows I need it. Heather calls it “Russian Tea”, some have called it “Friendship Tea,” but I would call it “A Cup of Encouragement.” It is a rich, hearty tea that warms me to my soul and I find it comforts me when I am sad or cold or empty or even sick to my stomach. It is made from a mixture of several ingredients and Heather keeps it on hand always. She only has to spoon some into a cup and add warm water and it is ready to serve.
I find myself wondering whether we should all have a cup of encouragement ready at any time for those who are discouraged around us. I would like to be a person who could serve up that kind of comfort that warms a cold, empty soul at a moments notice. Often I feel the desire to offer encouragement to someone on the spot but as I search through my cupboard I find that I am out of some of the ingredients that make it so rich. Sometimes the ingredients are there but I haven’t prepared them, and by the time I get it all together the opportunity has passed. Sometimes I even find that I have forgotten the recipe.
As God commands us to encourage one another, I believe that He expects us to be ready for the opportunities that come our way. When we are not ready, He will find another who is ready to fill that role. God provides comfort when comfort is needed – I desire to be used by God to comfort others. When I fail to be prepared I miss the opportunity to be blessed! Let’s take the time to be prepared, to learn the ingredients, to stock up on those ingredients, and to know the recipe that provides the comfort for those who need it.
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.