< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Be an Encourager

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Be an Encourager

Paul was one of the great encouragers. In fact in 1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 he says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.”

My daughter and I each went on a special church retreat called The Walk to Emmaus, where family and friends wrote the participants letters which they were surprised with on the last day. Our letters said great things about us. Things we wished were true! Even partly true! But, they were encouraging because they made us want to grow in that direction.

I think Paul’s letters would have the same effect when he wrote to the Thessalonians that he saw the love they had for each other increasing; don’t you think there were people in that church who hung their head and thought about how they had just ignored someone, or talked about someone else behind their back? But, that because of the way Paul said it they squared their shoulders and determined to be that way!

We should encourage each other at every opportunity. Isn’t it interesting how often we read in parenting magazines that that’s a key to raising great kids? And in business magazines that that’s how to be a good leader!

So, encourage your children, your friends, ministers, believers and non-believers. It will help them become better people. And it will make you a better person, too.

Witness in word and deed.

Lord, may my praise to You this day not be in words alone; but in a loving touch for one needing encouragement; in acts of kindness that help ease another’s load; in time spent listening.

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