Curb Clappers

Curb ClappersWe are in a sermon series on Romans at The Cross and I wanted to share with you a single verse we took a look at that I think will be a source of great encouragement to you this month. It certainly was for me. The verse is Romans 1:12 which says, “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.”

As a pastor, what is remarkable for me to see in that verse is that the great apostle Paul confesses to the fact that he needed encouragement. I have to believe that if Paul needed encouragement, we all need encouragement. Will Rogers once said, “We can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” Every Christian needs to be what I like to call a “curb clapper” for the glory of God and the good of others. You need no special training or higher education. You need only a heart for others that comes by walking further in and further up into the truths of the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Only in light of the truths of the gospel can we freely and frequently give encouragement to others because only the truths of the gospel reorient us toward others. The gospel moves us away from an inward orientation to an outward orientation. By nature, we focus more on ourselves than we do on others. We are self-centered, self-focused, and self-absorbed. Then the gospel shows up, and the vertical relationship we are given with God opens us up for the horizontal relationship with others.

Paul tells us that encouragement builds us up, which means that discouragement tears us down. There are so many voices in the world around us that are doing everything but encouraging us. Voices that are good at fault-finding. Voices that are good at nit-picking. Voices that are good at identifying weaknesses. Voices that tear down rather than build up. There are some people who seem to be experts at pointing out what someone is doing wrong, but never finding the time to point out what they are doing right.

That is why the people of God need to intentionally pour encouragement into the lives of others. We all need it and we all need it daily! If we keep before our eyes that the only real Hero the world has ever seen is the Lord Jesus Christ, then we will be able to rise above the need to be in the parade going by receiving the applause of man. Instead, we can find great satisfaction and security by encouraging others from the sidelines as “curb clapper” Christians.

There are countless ways for each of us to fill our “curb clapper” role. We can give someone a note of encouragement. We can send a surprise text that brightens their day. We can pick up the phone and reach out to someone we have not spoken to in a while. We can give someone a hug or a high-five and tell them they are doing a great job and that we appreciate them.

The writer of Hebrews echoes the apostle Paul in saying, “Encourage one another daily,” (Hebrews 3:13). God simply wants us to be a people of encouragement. Albert Sweitzer once said, “For every one negative input it takes eleven positive ones to overcome it.” I think that’s true. As a coach, for decades I have personally witnessed the power of encouragement. The more we, as coaches, would encourage our players the better they would perform and the happier they would be. Sadly, I have also witnessed the power of discouragement that often drove young players off the field and out of sports altogether.

There is a man in the Bible with the name Barnabas which means “son of encouragement,” (Acts 4:36). Wouldn’t that be well said of all of us that we would be known as a source of encouragement to all those we came in contact with? So who can you encourage today? Is there someone who could use a word of encouragement from you today, maybe even eleven of them? Perhaps this word today was an encouragement to you. Pass it on. You’ll be glad you did.

This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

Tommy Boland is the Senior Pastor of Cross Community Church in Deerfield Beach. Worship services are held on Saturdays at 6pm and Sundays at 10:30am., at 841 S.E 2nd Ct., Deerfield Beach. Check us out at: thecrosscc.org.

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