If we were to make encouragement one of our main strategies, we’d see positive results in most situations. If we made providing for others one of our goals, the world would be a kinder place. King Josiah epitomizes both of these attributes in 2 Chr 35:1–19.
Josiah’s actions mark not only a remarkable transition from being unfamiliar with God’s Word to living it out (2 Chr 34:8–33), but also a move from religiosity to compassion. Josiah could have coldly observed the Passover out of ritual, but instead he encourages the religious leaders and empowers them to do God’s work. His encouragement changes the outcome: The religious leaders embrace their task.
Josiah also provides for them, allowing them to make the necessary changes. He frees them up from their usual obligations so that they may help others (2 Chr 35:3); he takes care of their fiscal needs (2 Chr 35:7). His example inspires others to give as well (2 Chr 35:8–9).
As a result of Josiah’s actions, we see God’s work being done: “So all the service of Yahweh was prepared on that day to keep the Passover and to sacrifice burnt offerings on the altar of Yahweh, according to the command of King Josiah” (2 Chr 35:16).
Our actions can either inspire others or discourage them. If we’re willing to develop a character of giving and encouragement—focusing on the positive rather than the negative—we’re more likely to be successful in carrying out God’s work.
How can you encourage someone to follow God’s path for his or her life? How can you provide for someone today?
John D. Barry