I had been “on” for several straight hours. For that time, men shared their experience and I listened with ears to hear. My response was sometimes comfort, sometimes encouragement, sometimes teaching and sometimes learning. It was serious and weighty and occasionally fun and funny. It was me engaged in what I am equipped to do and not thinking much about it other than to do it.
After this time, we gathered to rest and celebrate and laugh and relax. We ended the day with a party of sorts, breaking bread, queso and root beer floats. Before we were to dig into the feast, however, a mentor and friend paused to honor and encourage and affirm the thing that had been coming out of me.
From a man whom I respect, I received respect. From a man who shared the gift in himself with me over the years, I received recognition for the gift that has taken root and was producing fruit through me. From an investor, I received value.
The thing that I realized during this public affirmation was that it caused me to be settled and secure. You might think at a glance that such public praise would stir selfish ambition or a heightened sense of self-importance. You might think that the recipient of such honor would get a big head and become puffed up with pride. In fact, it was just the opposite.
With that kind of heart-felt honor from others that walk in honor, we are more inclined to be satisfied in our place and status of promotion. We are more inclined to allow for the encouragement of others to fill the void of insecurity so that we are less tempted to try to fill that void ourselves. When we encourage one another, the resulting environment is one of selflessness and humility.
We need affirmation from the people who God has put in our lives to recognize, call out, nurture and release the gifts in us. We don’t just want it; we need it. It’s part of God’s design for the House of God. We live as a family and families include the support necessary for individuals to make a greater impact than they could alone and outside of the family.
To live in a family requires sacrifice and selflessness. That will manifest when there is no need for self-promotion because the rest of the family promotes us appropriately. The resulting humility of individuals from the satisfaction that they have a place and won’t have to promote themselves releases them to affirm and encourage others in the family. And so on into eternity.