Jerry Kramer was an offensive lineman drafted in the fourth round of the NFL draft by Green Bay in 1958. In 1959 Vince Lombardi became the head coach of the team. The story goes that one day Kramer was having such a bad practice that Lombardi became fed up and said, “Son, you are a lousy football player,” sending the young player dejected to the locker room.

Danny Minton

Danny Minton

A good while later Lombardi enters the locker room after practice and saw the young Kramer sitting on a bench head down still down from being sent in. Lombardi went over to the young player, sat beside him and spoke gently to him, and Zig Zigler quotes him as saying, “Son,” he told him, “I told you the truth. You are a lousy football player. You’re not blocking, you’re not tackling, and you’re not putting out. However, in all fairness to you, I should have finished the story. Because inside of you, son, there is a great football player and I’m going to stick by your side until the great football player inside of you has a chance to come out and assert himself.”

In 1960 Jerry Kramer made the pro bowl, the first of 5 appearances. In addition, he was voted the all-time guard in the first 50 years of professional football. All because of a great leader standing beside him all the way.

Are we encouragers? Do we finish the story when we work with those serving the Lord or are we too quick to evaluate and critique without positive input? People have great potential to do great things for the Lord and sometimes just need the encouragement of others. They need someone to say keep up the good work, someone to pat them on the back or someone to just to show some interest in them. Many of the greatest works in the kingdom are not done by elders or ministers but by the men, women, and children who sit in the pews on Sunday morning.

Barnabas was an encourager and ended up supporting men such as Paul and John Mark. Paul, in turn, mentored young Timothy. Naomi influenced Ruth. Jesus built up Peter. Great men and women don’t always start out that way; they are often the product of an encouraging teacher or caring mentor.

Look for ways to build others up. Look hard for opportunities to encourage others. Go out of your way to help someone know and feel that what they are doing is important for the Lord. I believe the more encouragement and positive attitude that we spread the less negativism we’ll hear and see.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24)

Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ

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