Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.
I Thessalonians 5:11
Have you noticed how discouraging the news headlines are lately? If you’ve stopped reading and listening to the news because of all the fake news, then maybe you’ve run into friends and acquaintances who are just plain tired of the constant hustle of daily living. They are tired of all of life’s stressors, financial issues, relationship issues, family dysfunctions and on and on. Some appear to have hit a brick wall, and nothing excites them anymore. Perhaps you yourself have run into that brick wall. It appears a dark volcano has erupted and is spewing out discouragement across the world. I receive prayer requests from different parts of the world, and I can tell you, the spirit of discouragement is rampant. It’s not just here in the USA, it’s everywhere. The Christians in Thessalonica were in a similar predicament. They were facing struggles and an uncertain future; many of them felt discouraged. Paul writes to them amid their discouragement to remind them of their faith, hope and love in Christ, all of which prepared them for the Lord’s return.
Encouragement is among the gifts of grace (Romans 12:7-8) and it is important in our lives. Without encouragement people resort to destructive alternatives in their attempt to make themselves feel better. Paul reminds the Thessalonians that there’s no better time to encourage others than the present time. There’s no better time to build others up, than when they are down. His words are as relevant for us today as they were for the Thessalonians back then. People need to know that God is still in control, and despite the chaos of our world, he has not abdicated. His word still is, and always will be the unchanging Good News that is preparing believers for his return. His word is the gift, that people need to hear today.
Have you encouraged anyone lately? Have you taken the time to help a fellow believer to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18)? Have you taken the time to come alongside a fellow believer, to listen, to comfort and to affirm? This is how we live out the exhortation to encourage one another and build each other up. Are you ready and willing to encourage someone today? Take time to recall those who have encouraged you along the way, it may be time to encourage them too.
Almighty God, lead me to those who are discouraged today, then give me the boldness to share your word, so that I might encourage them and build them up as we all await your return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.