The encourager

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Seen and heard at a conference:

Seasoned saint: "Are you reading any of the older writers? Do you have any thoughts as to what you might read next?"

Eager rookie: "Well, I just read John Owen on The Glory of Christ, and it was outstanding, and I thought I might just keep going and see if I can get through Owen in a year or two."

Grizzled veteran: "Really? I only know two or three men in the country who might be able to manage that. I'm not sure that's a good idea at all."

Crushed youth: "Oh. Er . . ."

I don't want to be that old man. I know the young enthusiast might need his energies channelled, his appetites directed and his excesses reined in, but I don't want to put that look in his eyes and that dent in his soul.

Older Christians, even older ministers, may have no idea how much they can encourage (or, conversely, discourage) younger believers. They can be the people who have tried it, worked at it, failed in it, and cannot see the point of anyone else ever trying it, those who believe that they know the world so well that they are thoroughly weary in it and of it and have become persuaded that there is no value left in anything and no expectation for any blessing. Or they can be the people who stir up others to love and good works, who pray on the mountains while the younger ones fight in the valleys, who push others into opportunities they never had and hope for blessings greater than they ever saw.

Let us train zeal but not squelch it. Let us direct energy but not destroy it. Let us form spirit but not crush it. Who knows, maybe you just discovered the fourth man in the country who could read Owen through in a year? (Disclaimer: other challenges are available.)
Posted March 22, 2014 @ 4:31 AM by Jeremy Walker

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