|An Arch at the Castle of Heidelberg Germany|
We all have different gifts from the Holy Spirit, it is true. However, each of us is called to encourage, build up and edify one another in the Lord. The Bible tells us that times will get tougher (and they are difficult and discouraging now) and that we should all the more try to encourage one another.
Paul, the Apostle, wrote a second letter to the Corinthians after he had chastised them in his first letter for all the dissension and problems they had allowed. In this second letter, it is easy to see his love for these people and his concern for them. He even opens his own heart and allows us to see how God used someone in his life to encourage him.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7 reads: "For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side; conflicts without, fears within. But God who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; and not only his coming, but also he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more." These are words of encouragement that Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He wanted them to know that it wasn't just the coming of Titus that helped him through depression and difficulties. It was the words which Titus encouraged him with...that the Corinthians truly wanted to see him again.What good news to this man who had taken them to task for their behavior in Christian matters!
Encouragement has a ripple effect almost like throwing a stone into a quiet pond. When we tell someone encouraging things, they in turn will spread this encouragement to others. Let me share an example.
I was talking with a friend recently, and she mentioned the name of another lady whom I had not seen in a while. I told her how much I respected and admired this woman. Some time later, she had a chance to see this lady and she passed on my words of encouragement. I received a note in the mail a week later from this woman who thanked me for my kind words to our mutual friend. What a pleasant surprise I had!
|The Altar in the Church of the Holy Ghost in Heidelberg, Germany|
In the Scripture, the Corinthians told Titus how much they loved Paul which encouraged Titus as he saw their changed hearts. Then, Titus told this good news to Paul which carried the encouragement on to him. The letter Paul wrote to them sent that encouragement and love right back to them to bless them. It was a circle of blessing!
Whom can you encourage today? We have people all around us in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and churches. We need to remember to encourage them with words that will lift their spirits and build their faith. As we do this, the encouragement will return to us as well and bring glory to our Lord. Selah!
Who encourages you? What brings encouragement to your heart? I welcome your thoughts here. Please leave them so that others might also be encouraged.