By Rev. Jeff Gannon
Many of the students in this year’s Confirmation class named encouragement as one of their top three spiritual gifts. Our students are amazing and I celebrate how God will use them to make a difference in the world and to make a better world!
Encouragement is a spiritual gift. Anyone can encourage anyone and that is important to do in the world in which we live. We all need encouragement because obviously there is a lot of discouragement around us. When people exercise the spiritual gift of encouragement it does as the word says…places courage in the center of the human self. May I say it differently? Encouragement gives us the courage to do what we are afraid to do or it gives us to the courage to not do something impulsive that we are likely to regret later on.
God knows the value of encouragement. We see this gifted implanted in the whole of creation, including geese!
• Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds
that follow. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater
flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
- Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help, and we give our help to others.
- Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangement of gifts, talents, or resources.
- Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
- Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help or protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.