Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lesson 4: “Honk if You Love Jesus”

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  Colossians 3:16 ESV

What usually first calls our attention to the flock of geese, is their “honking.”  We hear their honking and then look up and try to find them.  Because of how sound travels and the altitude at which geese fly, it is difficult to determine which ones are doing the honking.  Engineers and scientists, who made other discoveries about the geese, also discovered that the honking comes from the rear of the formation.  Further research showed that the geese in front do not look back to see the number or condition of the geese following.  The honking from the rear lets the lead goose know the flock is behind them and ready to help.  They use the honking as encouragement to move on. Notice I said “Honking” not “Squawking!” We can learn another lesson from this action.

As we notice others taking a leadership role, no matter how minor or major, we can encourage others by doing a little “Honking.”  There is something extremely encouraging and motivating about hearing the support of others with similar goals.  Why do you think sports teams have developed cheerleaders and pep squads?  Why is there such a thing as “home field advantage?”  Little league players and high school stars are greatly encouraged by those who cheer them on. 

“exhort one another, and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5: 11-13
One of the most interesting men in American history is Andrew Carnegie.  He was well known for his development of the steel industry in Pittsburgh PA, in the late 1800s, but maybe his greatest talent was the “development of people.”  He explained his philosophy, by saying, “Developing people is a lot like mining for gold. When you mine for gold, you move literally tons of dirt, looking for the gold, but you are not looking for the dirt, you are looking for the gold. In developing people, you look for the GOOD. That is the GOLD! When you find it, you nurture it and bring it to fruition”. This philosophy of developing others is true whether you are promoting the development of children or Christians. When will we learn that more can be accomplished by “complimenting the good” than by “criticizing the bad.”

Sometimes this encouragement, development or support comes in the form of a public acknowledgement of appreciation.  This might be referred to as “public honking.” It can also come in the form of a private acknowledgement; maybe something as simple as a handshake or hug and saying “Thank you for what you did.”  Some of us have difficulty in verbally expressing our true feelings.  In this case a simple card or note of appreciation, mailed or handed to the person in private, would work wonders in their life.  This form of encouragement might be referred to as “private honking.”

Have you ever stopped to consider that we were made to praise?  God made us to praise and “encourage” Him!  He created angels made for the purpose of praising and glorifying Him but desires the voluntary praise of His people far above that.  Years ago there was a bumper sticker that showed up on many automobiles which said, “Honk if you love Jesus!”  It really seemed like such a good idea but created some chaos when people forgot they had it on their car and became rather “unchristian” when people were honking at them!  It’s still a good idea to “Honk if you love Jesus” but we need to do our own “honking.”  We need to show the humility of gratitude in private prayer to our Lord, thanking him for all the things He has done and continues to do for us.

Hopefully, we would never confuse the magnitude of what God has done, with the comparatively insignificant impact made by the leaders among us.  That is not to say we shouldn’t be appreciative of those leaders.  Like the “poor widow” found in Luke 21:1-4, we are not judged by what we do or what we have, but what we do with what we have.  If we have followed lesson 2 from the geese, we will be empathic of the person now in the leadership position and know how much help a little encouragement can provide.

Scripture to Claim:
So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.  Romans 14:19 ESV

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