Category Archives: Encouraging
Jeremiah Burroughs (c. 1600–1646) was an outstanding Puritan preacher and writer. He wrote the following in his book Excellency of a Gracious Spirit, a quote that made its way inside a very good new biography on the man by Phillip Simpson, A Life of Gospel Peace (RHB, 2011):
Rejoice in the good of others, though it eclipses your light, though it makes your parts, your abilities, and your excellencies dimmer in the eyes of others. Were it not for the eminence of some above you, your parts perhaps would shine more brightly and be of high esteem. Yet to rejoice in this from the heart, to bless God from the soul for His gifts and graces in others, that His name may be glorified more by others than I can glorify it myself; to be able to truly say, ‘Though I can do little, yet blessed be God there are some who can do more for God than I, and in this I do and will rejoice’—this is indeed to be able to do much more than others. This shows a great eminence of spirit.
Oh, how I need to hear this continually! From Mark Lauterbach at the Gospel Driven Life blog:
It takes no advanced degree to find fault with another man — or to show the stupidity of someone else’s thinking. It takes much grace to see God at work in a fellow redeemed sinner whose life is marred by sin and marked by grace. It takes grace to see it and strengthen it. It takes grace to encourage them in a way that glorifies God and strengthens faith…
My children tell me I am very hard to please. I do not think I am — I think I have very good standards and they need to measure up. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I see is what has not been done. I see faults all over. I am God’s agent to make them excellent.
A few years ago a friend saw my sin and encouraged me to spend a whole summer doing nothing but encouraging my children. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Every day I would look for grace in them but find faults. I had to bite my tongue all the time. But the fruit on their lives and our relationship was amazing.
So — as I lead my family, do they hear my criticism more than my commendation? Do I see myself as the great and indispensable fault-finder? As I relate to fellow-Christians, am I more aware of their sin or of their growth in sanctification?
I am learning this most crucial element of fellowship — and seeing it as the first step. Until I see grace in others I am in no position to help them grow by pointing out their sin.
I say: Well done, Mark. Thank you for this reminder!
On this topic Mark also recommends C.J. Mahaney’s message: Grace and the Adventure of Leadership. How would you respond to the incestuous, sin saturated Corinthians? Be humbled by this message. Another excellent (and now free) audio message from Sovereign Grace Ministries.