When was the last time someone encouraged you? I hope you don’t have to think back too far to remember! But as you read this, please know that’s what I aim to do for you right now.
Encouragement is such a powerful thing, right? It often comes in the most practical way. When you’re tired or discouraged, a simple thank you from someone who sees your good work can breathe energy back into your soul. It may be a friend who provides company and a ride to the doctor when you’re not feeing well. Some days may feel so blue that you don’t want to get off the couch and go out—having (or being!) a friend who will come sit, watch a movie and just be there is so good for the heart.
Care, kindness, a good word at just the right time can change our perspective.
I will never forget one day of hard cycling up a steep hill and my legs were cooked. At the very moment when I was tempted to pull over and quit, I felt a gentle hand on the small of my back. Not to push me up the hill—I still had to do that hard work myself. But just that small gesture and the slight pressure of my friend’s hand urged me to keep the pedals turning. It was the tangible encouragement I needed to make it to the top.
Sometimes we say that when we aren’t. Why do we do that? Don’t believe the lie that we don’t need each other. Because without each other, when we are isolated from the family of God, we won’t be fine for long. We weren’t designed to function on superficial connections.
Even the great apostle Paul needed encouragement and fellowship. We see this throughout his letters to the churches. To the church in Rome, he wrote, “I long to visit you so I can bring some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” (Romans 1:11-12 NLT)
Due to his imprisonment, Paul couldn’t often gather with the churches, but it was always his great desire. At least seven times in his letters, Paul expresses his longing to be face-to-face with the churches he loved. You can easily sense his love and desire to be with them.
Now I realize that the Church is not perfect. Remember that Paul sometimes suffered personal attacks from other believers. At times he was misunderstood. He had disagreements and there were many times he was disappointed. But Paul obviously loved and valued the Church. He called them beloved.
There is no institution on earth that can substitute for what the Church is called to do. We are the Church…imperfect individuals, perfectly saved by grace and drawn together by the Holy Spirit working in us. But the enemy desires to divide us and keep us far apart.
Now is NOT the time to pull away from community.
Now is the time to pull together in love—to invest ourselves, serve, and intentionally create the community that we have longed for.
Now is the time to live out the reality of the beauty that is ours as we participate in being part of the Body of Christ here on earth.
Consider what God has given you right now and who He has called you to be. Not just to the outside world, but also to your people, the family of God.
So let’s think of specific, creative ways to encourage others using the tools we have. Our voices. Our presence. Our time. Our resources. As we do, we will encourage others and be preaching to our own souls.
Yes, we are the Church. These are my people and I love them!
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promises. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near. – Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT