Core scripture: “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Message: The sandhill crane is quite the unique creature. Due to its long windpipe, the honk of this beautiful bird is remarkably distinctive. This comes in quite handy as they migrate in their patented V formation. The leader, chosen specifically for its ability to handle turbulence, takes its spot up front while the rest of the sandhill cranes honk encouragement from behind, propelling the leader on.
Imagine that for a moment. You can see it, right? Look above if you need to. It would take a lot to be that lead bird. The wind whipping your feathers. Turbulence tossing you left and right. Suddenly, when you start to fade out, you hear your comrades behind you start to honk. Keep flapping, friend! You flap, and we’ll follow. You got this! Their words inject fresh hope inside you. You have no choice but to carry on.
I have seen encouragement spur others to success before. One Chiefs game a few years ago, speed demon Tyreek Hill took the field to return a punt against the rival Oakland Raiders. I was there. It started with just a few fans, but before we knew it the entire section was chanting, “Ty-reek! Ty-reek! Ty-reek!” The crowd noise exploded as he streaked down the field for a 78-yard touchdown. Arrowhead went berserk. It was electric!
(See the entire play here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MlWB1VkYEUQ)
YOU can be that jolt of electricity to someone. Who needs encouragement in your life? Maybe it is an administrator or colleague. It could be a pastor, a neighbor, a friend. Anyone who leads will always lead better if they have inspiration. Fellow teachers, be that inspiration! Encourage your leaders just like the crowd fueled Tyreek Hill, just like the sandhill cranes spur each other on.
Never underestimate the power of an encouraging word.
Challenge: Which leader in your life needs a little encouragement? Write them a note, shoot them a text, or even better, just tell them face-to-face how much they mean to you. You never know which leaders will appreciate that much needed midweek pick-me-up.
Video application: One of my favorite scenes in the movie Rocky Balboa is when Rocky encourages his son. I wish I had this speech in my pocket when needed.
Prayer: Lord, help me empower leaders around me with encouragement when they need it most. Amen.