“Come on,” said my niece.
She grabbed my hand and attempted to pull me up from the picnic blanket.
“Let’s go and climb those rocks.”
I looked at the rocks she was pointing out.
There was no way I could climb them.
“Come on,” she kept pulling at my hand, “We’re going to climb those rocks.”
“Sorry,” I said, “I can’t.”
She grabbed my hand again.
“You can watch. Come on, let’s go.”
I got to my feet and, hand in hand, we walked to the bottom of the rocks.
“Right,” she said, “Watch me go.”
And I did.
I encouraged her.
I cheered her on.
All the way.
When she eventually reached the top, she raised her arms in celebration.
We did it!
Even though I hadn’t even touched a rock.
She wanted me to share her joy.
Her joy was our joy.
And it really was.
But it was a joy I nearly missed out on.
Because I thought I couldn’t join in.
In a way, I was right.
I couldn’t climb.
But I was wrong, too.
There was more to joining in than literally climbing.
Encouragement was important, too.
Getting her to the top.
In the bible, there’s a man called Barnabus.
He was not named Barnabus when he was born.
He was given the name later because it fitted with his character.
Barnabus means ‘Son of Encouragement’.
He wanted others to be the best that they could be.
And he encouraged them to get there.
Being part of their team.
Cheering them on.
Being ‘generous with encouraging words’.
Even when he wasn’t the one who got to the top.
Wouldn’t it be great if we were all like that?
We did it!