Consider the power of an encouraging word.

As told in 2 Chronicles, the Spirit of God came on a man named Azariah. He had been watching King Asa as he led Judah in a season of renewal. Asa was calling the people to trust wholly in the Lord. Azariah’s inspired word for Asa is one of the great lines of encouragement in the Old Testament.

But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work” (2 Chron. 15:7).

Often times we feel like our work has no real impact. We wonder, “Am I even making a difference?” If those doubts linger, they sour into discouragement or even despair. “Do not lose courage” translates a Hebrew phrase that reads literally, “Don’t let your hands drop.” What a powerful picture of discouragement. When our hands drop, we are no longer getting the work done, and we open ourselves to the enemy’s knockout punch!

Azariah delivered a simple and powerful word of encouragement that made all the difference to Asa. I like the verbs that follow in the story—removed, restored and gathered. This encouraging word set King Asa into another productive season of work. He removed idols, restored the place of worship and gathered the people of God for worship and covenant renewal.

Consider the power of a thoughtful, prayerful, clear word of encouragement.

Of course, this applies to everyone we know. Our children, our parents, our neighbors and our friends need encouragement. “Encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). But allow me to turn your thoughts to your pastor.

The great threat to your pastor is not moral disqualification, nor is it theological error. These risks are real. Some pastors are forced from the work for these reasons, but not most. Most who let their hands drop from the work do so because—to use biblical language—they grow weary and lose heart. An encouraging word can make all the difference.

Tell your pastor how his work helps you. Let him know that there is a reward, a result from his work. Look him in the eye and say, “You be strong and do not lose courage.” Do the same for his wife. Be like that old prophet Azariah. When the Spirit of God stirs your heart to encourage the servant of God, do not be silent. Go meet him, look him in the eye and get his full attention; then deliver a word of encouragement.

“But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”