Proclaim Encouragement from the Rooftops
Jesus said, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for all is now ready.’
But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it; I pray you, have me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them; I pray you have me excused.’
And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’
So the servant came and reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’
And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you have commanded has been done, and still there is room.’
And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled.’ For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”
In Luke 14:16-24, Jesus tells the parable of the great banquet. The context of this parable is at a dinner where Jesus was eating with the Pharisees, the Jewish temple leaders. The parable of the great banquet is about them. The people who were initially invited to the banquet, the ones who made excuses for not going, represent either the Pharisees or the Jews in general, those who rejected Christ. In the parable, the servants tell their master that those who were invited have declined to attend. The master tells the servants to go out to the streets and lanes of the city to invite people to come to his banquet. When the servants tell the master this has already been done and there is still room, the master implores the servants to “go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23). Because the master wants to share his food, his home and his joy with as many people as possible.
When it comes to encouragement, I feel the joy and urgency of the master in this parable. I want to implore anyone who wants to be an encourager to go proclaim encouragement from the roof tops, go everywhere you can, spread encouragement to as many people as you can. Help build the confidence of as many people as you can. No one should be hungry when it comes to encouragement. There is plenty of encouragement to go around so that no one feels hungry. Encouragement can almost be described as an inexhaustible resource. I only have so much money I can give away, because my income and my bills are fixed. There are only so many hours in a day, because time is limited. However, when it comes to encouragement, I have more than enough to give away to other people. And the need for encouragement is unending as well. It’s something we always have a need for. Virtually no one is going to say, “I’ve been over-encouraged, I don’t think I can have any more.” We can oversleep, we can overeat, we might even get overpaid (it does happen), but no one is ever over-encouraged.
So, like the servants in the parable, we should go to the highways and hedges and encourage as many people as we can find, so that all can feel the fullness of encouragement, rather than the emptiness of negativity or indifference. Worse, we don’t want to have people who feel isolated and alone. Encouragement reduces both significantly.
Encouragement is not a religion. It is not something we believe in. Rather it should be a way of life; it should be something we do with regularity. Being a good encourager will not replace the need for a relationship with Christ. Remember life is about being Godly, not just being good. But goodness is a step towards godliness, and encouragement is a large step towards goodness. Thus, encouragement will help us grow in our faith and bring us closer to Christ.
There are things we think about every day—getting enough sleep, getting enough to eat, making sure we check in with family, doing our jobs, etc. Encouragement should be something we think about intentionally every day as well. Encouragement is not going to solve all the problems of society or of the world but it certainly can go a long way to improving our little corner of it.
The master in the parable told his servants to compel everyone they found to come in and eat—he wanted the house full, he wanted everyone to feel full, even people he didn’t know. In the same way, we want to encourage everyone, so that no one feels empty, even the people we don’t know. When you think about it, there is something encouraging we can say to just about everyone. Let’s see ourselves like servants in this parable, going out to the highways and hedges, going to every corner of our world and encouraging others, so that everyone can feel full and so that no one feels empty.
Lord, thank You for inviting us to be with You. Thank You for the invitation to share in Your Kingdom, both in this life and for eternal life. Help me to be attentive to the invitation. Help me to see encouragement also as a banquet to which to invite others. Give me the desire to go to the “highways and hedges” and compel all to feel encouraged. Bring those who feel empty to me so that I can encourage them. Amen.
Are you all-in on encouragement?