By Bob Kyser of Independence, Missouri, USA
Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.
Reading from Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica, I sense a call for the Christians there to be prepared during an uncertain time. The letter calls them to be faithful while strengthening each other for an unknown future. They are to encourage one another. This message speaks to me today.
I once traveled a long distance to be with a family member who recently had learned he had a terminal illness. As I drove, I kept asking myself, “What can I say?” I thought and prayed about this, but the words did not come…until finally the words be encouraged came to me.
I visited for a short time before starting my journey home. As I prepared to leave, we prayed together, and I shared those two words…be encouraged.
As I thought about that experience, I came to value how important it is to be a voice of encouragement. I have learned that to encourage others requires me to live with hope and courage, especially during difficult times. I am lifted through prayer, scripture, accepting the generosity of others, and sharing with faith friends who support me.
I am encouraged as I think about who needs encouragement and how I might respond. Building up one another through acts of caring, worshiping together, sharing testimony, visiting, and daily praying for one another are just some ways to encourage.
As I share these thoughts, much of what I have lived for—peace, justice, equality, mutual regard, the expanded mission of Community of Christ—seem distant in terms of becoming reality. Yet opportunities to lift those around us and form communities of encouraged disciples are present every day.
I invite you to pause now and ask, “Who do I know that needs encouragement?” Then respond!
“giving thanks to God…at all times and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20)
[Adapted from A 7-Day Guide to Gratitude by Diana Butler Bass]
Often, we feel we have to escape from everyday life to embrace the mysteries and blessings of God. But we don’t need to go far, we can look inside ourselves. The greatest gift is the one we most often take for granted: that we are alive. Take ten minutes today for silence. Sit somewhere you will not be disturbed and set a timer. Reflect on the words, “I am. We all are.”
What happened in the silence?
Did a sense of gratitude emerge in this exercise?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.