but only what is helpful for building others up according
to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Ephesians 4:29, NIV
It was one of my very first sermons and I was petrified! Looking down in the front row I noticed my wife, Rosemary, was taking notes while I was speaking. I remember wondering what she could be taking notes on since she helped me prepare the sermon. After the service I actually asked her what she was writing.
“That was a great message for me, Bob!” my wife responded. “Let me show you the notes I took.” I sat there shocked. She could have commented on any of the many negatives about my delivery, but she left that for the self-proclaimed critics. I was incredibly encouraged by her words. Not idle flattery, but specifics about the things I had done well.
My wife discovered an obvious area in my life that needed nurturing. She was building me up according to my needs.
The people we love do not need much praise from us for the great things they do. Other people will take care of that. Our loved ones need us to build them up when they make positive efforts in an area of insecurity or difficulty.
Is there a challenge one of your family members is facing? An area of growth God wants them to take on? Choose to be the one that is the growth-builder, the one that encourages and waters their efforts so that they will grow in this area of need. Analyze the specific need and then focus the encouragement like a laser beam. It is not so much what Rosemary has said about my efforts at preaching over the years. It is the way she is still taking notes … thirty years later.
QUESTION: What is one area of insecurity or difficulty a loved one is dealing with? What can you do to build them up according to this need?