by Rick Warren — December 17, 2018
“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).
We live in a deeply negative culture, where put-downs seem to be favorite form of humor. People are constantly demeaned and degraded at work. They’re criticized and maligned. When somebody comes along and says, “Good job!” it makes a tremendous difference.
Unfortunately, in most workplaces, the message comes through loud and clear that people really don’t matter to the company or the cause. All that matters is their work. The only thing they’re valued for at that job is what they produce.
God calls us to communicate the exact opposite. He didn’t just create those people you work with—he died for them! That’s how much they matter. When we affirm the people we work with—even the ones we disagree with or don’t get along with or who just absolutely drive us crazy—we are telling them, “You matter to God, and you matter to me.”
Here are three ways to affirm others:
Listen to them. The Bible says, “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NLT). One of the greatest gifts you can give people is an attentive ear. When you listen, you’re saying, “You matter. I value what you have to say. I value who you are.” Every time you genuinely listen to people at work, you’re ministering to them.
Use positive words. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (NLT). God wants us, as believers, to be people builders, not people users. Most of the world is filled with people users. But when you speak positive words of encouragement to people and you build them up, you’re ministering.
Pray for them. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:11, “You are helping us by praying for us” (NLT). Make a prayer list of the people you work with. Put it in your Bible, pray regularly for them, and watch what happens in your office or on your job site. You cannot pray for people and not see them start to change! I encourage you to mention that you’re praying for them and ask how you can pray for them. Even unbelievers appreciate people praying for them. Every time you do that, you’re building a bridge through which you can minister to people.