Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV).
This is the greatest privilege of a believer. When you follow Jesus, your highest calling, best job, and greatest privilege is to encourage other people.
I’ll brag on my wife. She’s the best encourager I know. Quite honestly, sometimes it’s downright annoying that she refuses to let things get her down, even really serious things like illness, crisis, or even death. When she let Jesus take hold of her soul, she meant it and she took it to heart. Any time something bad happens, she can always be counted on to look on the bright side and work to find ways to bring the good out of any situation. It’s hard evidence of the Holy Spirit always at work inside of her.
I like to think the Apostle Paul would pat her on the back and say “keep on keepin on” (or something like that). In fact, I like to think he would say that to any of us who follow Jesus and use our status as His followers to encourage other people. That means ‘being there’ when someone has an issue. It means listening (something hard for me to do). It means helping out however someone needs help. It means actively praying for people, especially strangers and people who wrong us, and then doing what we can to help where we can. It means forgiving.
There was a stink last week when, in response to the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting, the mayor of Dallas said “spare us your thoughts and prayers and do your job.” In the climate of frustration, fear, and anger that comes with this wave of evil, yes, Mayor Rawlings’ comments are understandable even if they are insulting and repugnant. Yet the point he’s making – we need to DO something – is a popular one. Might I suggest to the mayor that praying is the first step to ‘doing something.’ Indeed, any ‘doing’ is meaningless if it is done without the guidance and involvement of the Almighty. Yet now is also the time when believers get to step up to the plate and encourage each other, building each other up, and build up others. Being there, listening, comforting, not preaching, are perhaps the best witnesses for Jesus we could offer these days. They are practical faith, really ‘doing something’ meaningful.
Come to think about it, they’re really the best things we could do any day, any time. Jesus died for everyone so that everyone might have the opportunity to come to know Him in faith and become part of heaven now. When encouraging each other, perhaps the best things we can offer are our actions. They prove our belief instead of simply talking about it. They are our highest calling. My wife would agree.
For further reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12
Lord, help me to encourage other people, other believers, and unbelievers every day of my life.