Sunday, July 26, 2009

Encourage One Another!

Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing. But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13a
Is there anything that can cut deeper than ingratitude? I think as mothers and fathers, as good employees, caregivers, or faithful church members we have all felt its sting at some point. Experiencing ingratitude can cause us to look back with regret that we didn’t show more gratitude to those people who blessed us with acts of kindness or service.

I knew a young woman who wrote birthday and anniversary cards to an enormous amount of people. She felt led to do it and was very faithful. I was one of many who received a card twice a year from her, year after year. Little did any of us know that would be her legacy. She died in her early 30's from an undiagnosed brain tumor. I have never seen as many people at a funeral visitation as I saw at hers. The line went on and on and many waited almost an hour to pay their respect. As people stood in line they talked about the cards she had sent to them and how much it meant. I wondered if she knew.

A couple of years ago I was facilitating a Bible study and I mentioned her example of faithfulness and the impact it had. I was leading a morning and evening class and in both classes women spoke up and said they had developed the same ministry in their church. Both had tears in their eyes, both expressed that they were ready to quit because they didn't think it mattered to those who were receiving them. Both of those dear women felt encouraged to continue.

Rich Mullins said something that shook me to the core in his music video A Pursuit of a Legacy. At first I balked at what he said until I realized the real point he was making. His statement as best as I can remember it was this, “Some people are bothered that Catholics make so much of Mary. I am bothered that we make so little of each other.” All I can say is, “Ouch!” I want to be a person who is grateful. First and foremost to a God who redeemed me with the blood of His Son, has forgiven me every trespass, and has lavished His grace on me. I don’t ever want to get over the magnitude of what He has done or take Him for granted. I believe keeping that gratitude in the forefront everyday will splash over on those who need to know that I appreciate and notice their acts of kindness. Yes, our motivation isn’t to get a pat on the head, but it can certainly brighten and encourage the heart of a weary traveler.

Look around in your life, church, home or work place and tell those who serve in big and small ways that you notice and appreciate what they do. Make it your goal to encourage someone today. You never know when God might use you to be the wind beneath their weary wings.

MY PRAYER: Lord, open my eyes to see and appreciate those that serve in big and small ways. Help me to be a grateful person. Everyday you load me down with benefits too many to number. Thank you.

MY CONFESSION: Today I will encourage and build others up. I will esteem others and tell them so. I stand on your Word!

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