Countless time and money is spent on searching for the most unique and special gifts to communicate value and love to others. While physical gifts can be quite special and meaningful, don’t overlook the greatest gift you can share with someone. The greatest gift you can give is actually the most valuable gift; in fact, it is priceless.
It’s THE GIFT OF YOU.
Take a few moments to consider the value of you and some things you can give that are truly unique. What is it you can share with others that is unlike anyone else?
1) Your encouragement…
Your encouragement is something that no one else can give. It is unique to you, and no one will be able to give it just like you. When considering the encouragement you can offer others, keep these things in mind:
– Everyone needs encouragement.
Everyone. Some may need it more than others today, but everyone needs it. Even people you think have a perfect life and have it all together, they need encouragement. In fact, it could be that those whose lives you envy most may need the most encouragement. It is often those without the obvious or public problems that receive the least encouragement. Perhaps those around you with the most on the outside are hurting most on the inside.
– Saying something is always better than saying nothing.
Have you ever thought about encouraging someone and just didn’t know what to say…so you said nothing at all? It is often said, “It’s the thought that counts.” Well, that’s just not true. Just thinking about encouraging someone is really no encouragement at all. In fact, if you were to tell someone “I thought about encouraging you a while back, but didn’t” that probably communicates the opposite of your desired sentiment. What you are really saying is “I thought that you may need encouraging, but I didn’t value you enough to do it.” If you think about encouraging someone and don’t know what to say, just say something.
– Do it now!
If you think about it now, do it now! If someone comes to your mind to encourage, there is most likely a reason for it and timing is everything. As you see an obvious need or situation, now is the time to encourage. If someone’s name “randomly” comes to mind to encourage, it could be that the Spirit of God is leading you in that moment to be a blessing to them. Perhaps they are praying in that moment for encouragement from God and God has chosen you to be His voice to them. If you think about it now, do it now…later will probably never come.
2) Your time.
How do you spell “love?” T.I.M.E. Nothing communicates value more than giving your time to someone. Your time is valuable… extremely valuable. Your time on earth is finite and is a non-renewable resource. Although you don’t know how much time you have, you know that time is running out every day. While most people don’t live in the reality of this truth, most understand that when someone willingly gives you their time, it is a precious thing. When considering how to communicate value by giving your time, consider the following:
– Pause to see needs.
Most of us would give our time to help loved ones in need if they were to ask. But how much more precious is it when someone offers their time. Sometimes we get too busy to see even obvious needs around us. Pause a few minutes and look around. Who around you is hurting? What needs do you see? Who around you could use help? Take the time to identify needs and how YOU can meet those needs. Maybe the need is simply someone to talk to. Maybe it is help with a project. Pray that God will help you see others’ needs and look around. Walk slowly through the crowd and look beyond the obvious. Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:35-40. Pause to see needs.
– Schedule it.
Intentionality is key when it comes to investing your time in others. Life is so busy and if you wait on the perfect moment, it will never come. If you want to give the gift of your time to someone, put it on the calendar. If you are having a hard time figuring out who to invest your time in, schedule time to think and pray about it. Scheduling makes giving your time to others and serving a priority.
– Involve others.
Sometimes your individual and sole attention is the most valuable thing you can give someone. Often times, as you invest your time you can include others as you do. Including others as you encourage or meet needs can be an encouragement to them as well. By involving others in ministry and service you are not only meeting the need of one person, but also challenging another to make a difference. By doing so, you have multiplied the gift of your time and been a blessing to more.
3) Your faith.
Of course you can’t really give your faith to someone else; but you can share it. At the core, everyone’s greatest needs are to be loved and to belong. Both of these needs are ultimately and completely found in God, and with His people (the church). There is no greater encouragement than to spiritually encourage someone. There is no greater investment than helping someone discover and live God’s best for their lives. As you consider how you can share your faith with others, think of the following:
– Recognize those hurting.
You probably know those around you who are hurting spiritually right now. Have you considered that God brought you into their life so that you can be their spiritual encouragement? Maybe you have never talked about spiritual things with them. Perhaps the idea of that is a little awkward. Consider what is at stake. If you don’t love someone enough to talk to them about the most important thing in the world, what kind of friend are you?
– Tell your story.
You have a story and your story matters! In fact, your story is part of the greatest story ever told! Two of the most powerful and encouraging things you can share is how you came to know God (salvation testimony) and how God has worked in your life (growth story). God can use both of these in a powerful way to encourage others and point them to how God can work in their lives. Telling your story communicates to others that they are not alone. Your story could be the most significant way to communicate the life-giving Good News of Jesus. Tell it.
– Realize the power of Scripture.
Have you ever been at a loss for how to encourage someone spiritually? Don’t forget about the power of Scripture. Simply sharing a Bible verse with someone can be the most powerful encouragement you can give. Sharing Scripture is sharing something that can speak to needs you may not even understand. Don’t forget this truth of God’s Word, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12)
– Pray with someone.
When we pray for someone, we are lifting them before the One who knows their deepest needs and can best meet those needs. But sometimes we can go an extra step with our prayers. My mom reminds me of the power of not only praying for someone, but praying with someone. When we tell someone we are praying for them, that can be encouraging for sure. But when we take the time right then to pray with them, that could be a moment they never forget. That is also a great way for them to hear your faith as you lift them before God.
– Don’t underestimate what God can do through you.
Don’t forget that if God can do the impossible (and He can), then God can do the impossible IN you and God can do the impossible THROUGH you. The most life-changing prayer you can pray today could be “God, what do you want me to do?” Such a prayer can be life-changing for both you and those around you. Would you be willing to be used by God today? You do what you can do and allow God to do what only He can do in you and through you.
In a season of looking for the perfect gift to give others, don’t neglect the most valuable (actually invaluable) gift you can give…the gift of yourself. Pray about how you can invest your unique encouragement, giftedness and time in others. Ask God how you can best share your faith and enjoy giving to others what God has richly given to you!