Responsibilities of the Church Day 17 – Encourage One Another
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” (Hebrews 10:24, ESV)
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV)
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19, ESV)
Discouragement is a struggle we all experience at times. Whether it’s a challenge you’re facing that seems impossible or it seems that God is silent in your suffering, being discouraged is a tough place to be in. One of the most dangerous places for the discouraged person is being in the company of another discouraged person. When we spend time with others who are also discouraged, the climb out is far more difficult. There is no one pulling you up or cheering you on, and oftentimes a discouraged group of people simply gives up. Why? Because they feed the fear they’re mutually facing rather than offering hope. This is why it’s imperative for the encouragers to step forward, to speak out, to offer hope when hope seems lost.
A thriving church has a core group of encouragers. They are desperately needed to build up its members. Here are some areas in which we can offer encouragement:
- Acknowledge someone’s development of gift
- Share appreciation for a message we enjoyed
- Thank the behind-the-scenes workers
- Give a young mother a kind word
- Tell the young Christian that teen years are hard and you’re praying for them
- Genuinely appreciate someone for their attendance (rather than pointing out when they miss gatherings)
- Let leaders know when they are leading well
- Reach out to the lonely, the sick and those who are hurting
- Be compassionate to those who fall and offer hope
These are just a few ways we can offer encouragement to one another. Too often I feel we miss the importance of just saying the kind thought that comes to mind. If we think something nice, why not say it? Those words could be just what is needed to put fresh hope into someone who may be struggling. Even if they aren’t struggling, encouraging words build up. They elevate. They make someone feel noticed, loved and cared for. They offer an opportunity for expressing the value God sees in each of us—we have purpose!
It’s true that some believers have the gift of encouragement. These wonderful Christians naturally have an ability to encourage fellow believers with seemingly no effort. Yet all of us are capable of encouraging others. Look around those in your church family and think of kind words you may be able to offer. Start small—choose just a handful of people you’d like to encourage, and then get started right away. With modern technology, it’s as easy as sending a quick text message. Or you could send an inbox message, an email, or pick up the phone and give someone who may be lonely a few minutes of thoughtful conversation.
With the pressures in the world around us, discouragement, anxiety and insecurity have found their way into the church in abundance. People need to be encouraged now more than ever. How can you pour yourself into them? What words can you share that may change the trajectory of the course they are currently on? Brothers and sisters, we have tremendous opportunity right within our own local church families to offer love and hope to those who need it. Are you willing to build others up? Are you in tune enough to know who needs your words the most? Let’s do all we can to spread encouragement in our church families. We have so much to give one another—let’s give away encouragement liberally!