I listen to a radio station that calls itself "uplifting and encouraging." For the most part, I would not disagree.
However, I don't understand how it is considered encouraging when a Christian who wins an award or some sort of recognition publicly offers praise to God. I don't find this encouraging because I think we would all do that -- "Everyone is watching, so I need to do what I know I should."
No, I am more encouraged by the unassuming, the unnoticed, the unadorned:
The stay at home mom who faithfully models the fruits of the Spirit to her children
The husband and father who walks with intergrity as he leads his family in a godly path
The Christian school teacher
The nursery worker at church
The conscientious neighbor who looks in on the elderly
These are the ones I find encouraging....
Because this is what, after nearly 20 years of walking with the Lord, I still fail to do. I would do it publicly; of course, I would!
But very few people get saved because a celebrity praises God. At best, seeing someone they admire for singing talent or atheticism give Jesus Christ a shout-out, a Seeker will find someone in his acquaintance who he thinks already knows God and he will start asking questions. It is most often the neighbors, the coworkers, the bowling buddies, who lead others to Christ.
The unadorned are like the witnesses in Hebrews 12 -- they have gone before. Not that they have died already, but that they have walked this path of integrity -- doing what you would do when everyone was looking even if no one is looking. They turn to us and beckon, "Come on, you can do it! See, we have. With God's help and grace, you can, too!"
That is why the unadorned are so encouraging.