First to sell land and give proceeds to the Church.
Went to Paul and helped him start his ministry.
When Paul separated from John Mark, he went with John Mark.
Seems to have a way of staying with the one who might be wavering.
Giving someone an internal state – confidence, hope Giving someone the ability or belief
Encouragement is not like teaching, where the first goal is knowledge. It is instead something that attempts to affect the will and the emotions But it may go by way of knowledge.
Notice that “encouragement” is relatively recent, coming into existence in the Middle Ages. Placed in context, it is about taking heart
So when we look at it in Scripture or in the Holy Rule, we are using a modern word to translate earlier terms. We need to look at some of them.
Use of “encouragement” grew from 15th century, then stabilized. Since 1800 – since the start of the modern, urban, industrialized era – the use of the term has dropped off.
No research on the reason for this. This was the era of “do it for ourselves” and the type of things that encouragement meant may have become less common.
Scripture is encouraging because it tells of God’s deeds and actions. Psalms of lament turn to God, of praise recount God’s power, history focus on God’s deeds Much of OT is history of God’s actions Exile is history of encouraging each other by remembering God’s past action Prophets speak of the promise of God’s future action by reminding of God’s constant presence and love.
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
Romans 1:12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.
Greek work parakaleo
A verb that has the meaning of being beside, of calling or coming to the side of someone
The speech or action may be for comfort OR for “exhortation” – the strength may be soft or it may be by giving a strong word, a bucking up
The encouragement may also be by teaching – as in recounting deeds or telling about the way God behaves.
We know one other word that comes from this: Paraclete.
Encouragement that we give each other is, in some sense, serving as the Paraclete, putting the spirit (heart) into someone. Just as Paul wrote to Timothy, by teaching, exhortation, help….
co-hortor ātus, ārī, dep. com- + hortor, to animate, encourage, advise, incite, exhort, admonish: hac (eloquentiā) cohortamur: vim habere ad cohortandum: vos ad libertatem recuperandam: nostri cohortati inter se, Cs.: vos ut essetis severi: (Curionem), magno sit animo, Cs.—Of a commander, to exhort, encourage, address: cohortatus suos proelium commisit, Cs.: exercitum ad pugnam, Cs.: cohortes, ut rem ad manūs adducerent, Ta.: ne labori succumbant, Cs.
The Rule, which is grounded in the Gospel and the example of the community and the superiors, is itself an encouragement.
Benedict speaks of “excuses” in several places.
The encouragement – the words for it – are given in Chapter 43 when Benedict writes, “Thus nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”
On getting up, they are to vie with one another to get there – think of this, rushing but with decorum because of how wonderful it is to come together to sing God’s praises – and then, if someone is held back by sleepiness, to remind them – Nothing is more important, this it the best thing we can be doing, you don’t want to miss this. Come, let’s go!”
Discourage came a little later than encourage, but about the same time period. To remove or take away the heart or courage.
Benedict tells us that Kitchen Helpers and Table Servers are to be given tasks that match their capabilities, so that they don’t become discouraged. The word he uses is “sorrow”
This word for “sorrow” is even stronger in Ch 27 where, quoting Paul in 2 Corinthians, he speaks of being “devoured by sorrow”
The solution is to send people to console – to come alongside of the brother – and to exhort and teach and console him all at the same time.
Encouragement is also the entire community coming along side the suffering person in prayer.
Think also of what we do when we sit by the dying. It is a time of transition, a courage – heart – to cross over into eternal life. We can’t do them much good in a physical sense, but we sit there to come alongside of them, to be with them, to assure them of God’s love and remind them of God’s promises. And we know that we want the person to go home to God encouraged, not in despair.
• 1 The action of giving someone
support, confidence, or hope.
• 1.1 Persuasion to do or to
• 1.2 The act of trying to
stimulate the development of
an activity, state, or belief.
Early 15c., from Old French
encoragier "make strong,
hearten," from en- "make, put in" +
corage "courage, heart"encouragement
How often do we
Books published between
1700 and 2008
•41 instances of “encourage” in
the New Testament, many in
Acts and in 2 Corinthians.
•Encouragement of the
•God’s action in the present – in
Paul’s life and those of the
•1) to call to one' s side, call for, summon
•2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in
the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
•2a) to admonish, exhort
•2b) to beg, entreat, beseech
•2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
•2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted
•2d) to encourage, strengthen
•2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
•2f) to instruct, teach
•Word “cohortor” used
•Com (with) + hortor
•8th Step of Humility
“what is encouraged by
the common rule of the
monastery or the
example of the
•Ch 22, How the Monks are to
•Upon arising for the Work of God
they should quietly encourage
one another, on account of the
excuses which the sleepy tend to
Mid-15c., discoragen, from Middle
French descourager, from Old
French descoragier, from des-
"away" + corage “courage, heart”encouragement
•Ch 27 – Care for Excommunicated
•And thus he should in every way act as
a wise physician, sending senpectae,
that is older and wise brothers, 3 who
can, as it were in secret, console the
wavering brother and convince him to
make humble satisfaction, thus
comforting him, lest he be devoured by
excessive sorrow (2 Cor 2:7); 4 rather, as the
apostle also says, Let love towards him
be intensified (2 Cor 2:8) and let all pray for
•As did Benedict, learn, know and
remind yourself of God’s promises
and actions in Holy Scripture.
•Think also of the lives of saints
•Be ready to “come along side” of a
person who seems disheartened or
sad or uncertain.
•Tell the truth of God’s presence, love
and power – not unfounded
assurance of their own capabilities.
•Become discerning of your own
heart. When did you experience the
surge of hope and confidence? What
had someone said or done?
•Become discerning of the hearts of
others. Notice when they seem to
take heart, or when they wilt. What
had someone said or done?
•See environments that encourage:
beauty, music, quiet, nature.
•Take the idea of encouragement to
your prayer life.
•Ask God to encourage you – to come
along side and give the gifts and the
hope that you need for whatever God
is calling you to do or be.
•Ask God to show you how to be an
encourager to others. To notice
when they are in need. To show you
the word they need to hear.
•Listen/watch for encouragement in
Scripture: the Gospel message.
•Take note of times when you have
the experience of being encouraged.
•Look for opportunities to give a little
encouragement. Try. What happens?
•Take note of times when you see or
•Pray for the gift of encouragement
for yourself and others.