A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, August 24, 2014
Help, Encourage, Mention in Prayer!
Ever get mentioned by someone? In conversation, or even on the radio or television, or social media? I know how good it feels, especially when someone has good things to say about me!
That’s what I preached on, this morning. Mentioning people in prayer. The bible verses I referred to came from 1 Thessalonians 1, where the Apostle Paul gives his friends—the believers in Thessalonica—a greeting. Yes, it had all of the items in a typical greeting of a typical letter of the first century. But it also had more. An added something that made so much difference. A sincere compliment, or what some think of as a healthy dose of encouragement.
I do have the spiritual gift of encouragement. People have noticed that in me and my interactions, for a long time. It is something that just sort of happens. So when other people express encouragement, I zero in on it. And here, at the beginning of this letter to the Thessalonian church? Yup. I saw it like a flash. Paul said he always thanked God for all the believers in that city. Pretty strong language, for someone who had only been in the city for a couple of weeks! As I mentioned in my sermon, Paul and his friends developed close relationships very quickly.
That caused me to think. What about me, and my relationships with my fellow believers? Sure, I do try to be close to family, friends, to those in my congregation. But, many of my relationships just don’t have that type of immediacy, that kind of intimacy that I sometimes see in the New Testament church. I know there are many reasons for that, and only some are on my side of the street. Some are on other people’s sides of the street, and some just happen . . . those reasons are just a fact of life.
But I still feel sad and bad about many of my relationships. Sure, I could mention the fast pace of life today, and how so many people have so little time for anything else. Or, about how many people are working so hard that they have little time for anything else. Or, about how many people are unemployed, busy looking for work, and so discouraged that they have little time for anything else. (You get the picture.) And, I may say, these are all valid, legitimate reasons.
I could get discouraged, too, just contemplating this! But I have a better solution. I can just continue doing as I have intended to do, looking for a kind, helpful, encouraging thing to do each day this year. It doesn’t matter whether it’s little or big, whether it’s a private courtesy or a huge production. (Somehow, I don’t tend to do “huge productions.” But that’s just me.) Regardless, I think being on the lookout for a kind, or helpful, or encouraging thing to do each day pleases God. I pray so! And, I hope my sermon this morning was encouraging to those who listened. Please God, may it be so.
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