Thermostat People

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

The Greek word for “encourage” literally means “to call to,” “to call for,” “to exhort.”

Notice encouraging another has to do with speaking. To encourage literally means to speak words that build up. Speak in such a way that when people hear your words, they are built up, they are exhorted, they are encouraged.

Obviously, there are times when we need to speak words of correction and discipline. Those are never fun. But even in those instances, the purpose of correction and discipline is to build up the other.

When I was younger, one of my mentors encouraged me to be a thermostat person and not a thermometer person.

A thermometer person can walk into a room or a situation and read the temperature. “This room is too hot!” or “This room is too cold!” But that’s it. They can’t do a darn thing to change the room. But any ol’ fool can walk into a room that’s ninety degrees and tell that it’s steaming hot, or a room that’s thirty degrees and tell that it’s freezing cold.

A thermostat person can also walk into a room or a situation and read the temperature. But, they can do something that thermometer people could never do: they can change the room. If it’s too hot, they can cool it down. If it’s too cold, they can warm it up.

Any ol’ fool can see that our world has lots of problems. But that’s not what God’s called you for. God not only wants you to correctly read the room and the situation, but God wants to use you to change the world for the better. In fact, God wants to establish his kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven!

I appreciate what Thomas Merton wrote. He said, “Speak words of hope. Be human in this most inhuman of ages. Guard the image of man for it is the image of God.”

What our world desperately needs aren’t more thermometers walking around talking about all that’s wrong in the world.

What our world desperately needs are some thermostat people who can change the world and impact it for the good.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

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