My body was dripping with sweat from the heat. I was tired. I was annoyed because giant, bird-like creatures called mosquitoes had descended upon me to take blood samples. And I was thirsty. (I felt like I could have drained a small lake.) I was working on a dormitory closet at our college campus experiencing all of these sensations when an angel appeared. No, really — one of the college students came and brought two bottles of ice-cold water so that I and the other workers could have some relief. I opened one of the bottles and took a swig — ah, instant refreshment. Now I was relieved. Nothing satisfies like H2O.

What ice-cold water is to the body, an encouraging person is to the spirit. Life, health, vitality, strength, and sustenance flow from this person’s words and actions. Like ice-cold water, an encouraging person is most appreciated in times of great thirst or drought. Before people will take a drink of water, they have to be thirsty enough; likewise before a person will appreciate encouragement, he or she must reach a point of emotional need. It’s not our job to make anyone realize their needs (they know them better than we do), but to identify their needs and use encouragement to provide a ray of hope in their darkness.

Every group needs an encourager. This is the one who stands up for someone who is being ridiculed or slandered. This is the person who sees something favorable in a situation when everyone else is concentrating upon the negative. It’s the one who sees potential beyond a person’s problems, faults, and shortcomings. It is the one who offers a timely word which pushes you to keep going when you feel like giving up. This individual is a cup of cool water to all who know them. May their tribe increase.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.