Encouraging others is work disciples can only do in community. Encouragement from others at just the right moment can mean the difference between giving up and knowing you’re okay. Encouragement in the faith community is an affirmation and blessed assurance of what God can do in our lives.
READ 1 Thessalonians 5:11–24.
Jesus left a trail of “encouraging” accounts for the disciples and the early church. This mark of encouraging is meant to be practiced in community. The practice appears to be about how we treat others, but it has less to do with others than it does with the change that occurs in ourselves. The act of encouraging another places the encourager in the other’s shoes. A deep sensitivity for the other’s situation and circumstance is important, and you make a conscious decision to let your actions be guided by the Holy Spirit. Your words of encouragement have a two-fold effect—they are affirming for the other and faith-building for you.
REFLECT on the ways we are called upon to encourage others. Make a list, and explain how you would carry out each one.
This message was adapted from the “Lessons for Today’s Disciples” resource written by Valora K Starr and available from the Women of the ELCA website.