Every parent has dreams and aspirations for their first child. They will change the world…make a life-changing invention…invent a cure for a deadly disease…be world known for their charitable acts.
Mine encouraged me to be responsible and fostered it by giving me chores to do. When I came of age, they encouraged me to get a part-time job. This would teach me the value of working for what I wanted and remind me that life’s journey isn’t free. They also encouraged me to have a good credit rating and ensured I would by making me purchase an item on credit when I was a mere 16 years old.
Then there was the encouragement to attend college. This one I bucked them on initially but later recanted and went. My parents also encouraged me to follow God’s plan for my life. I can’t imagine having grown up without the encouragement to look life squarely in the eyes and be my best.
Early Christians needed encouragement from each other and from their leaders. Persecution was rampant. Many were losing their lives. They had heard Christ would return quickly, but so far he hadn’t. How could they keep going when there were so many reasons to turn their backs on this supposed Messiah, Jesus?
One of the best places to find encouragement is at a local church. Here, I find people on a similar journey as I am. They’ve listened to Jesus’ command to deny self, take up their cross, and follow him. They also remember his word of warning that in this world they would always face persecution because they’ve chosen to follow him. But they also repeatedly hear his promise that he’ll never leave or turn his back on them. Since I can’t experience Christ with my five senses, experiencing him through fellow believers who encourage me is the next best thing.
The journey through God’s earthly kingdom is splattered with mountains and valleys, but encouragement from others helps me put one foot in front of the other.
Who needs your encouragement today?
Prayer: Father, enable us to encourage others as You encourage us.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and Jamierodriguez37.)