When was the last time you were encouraged? Where someone said something, sent a txt, emailed, rang, invited you for dinner, or just turned up to show their support? There is a huge need for encouragement in the hearts of believers. For the body. Just watch the crowds flock to hear ‘prophetic ministry’.
Such a desperation shows me two things.
Firstly, that people are going through tough times. This shouldn’t be a surprise. The Bible assumes afflictions. Although knowing that, doesn’t make things any easier! 🙂
Secondly, that there is a shortage of encouragement. Encouragement is a result of action. Practical love. It takes initiation. Risk. Obediance to the directives of the Holy Spirit.
Just look at Paul the apostle’s ministry. Look at his heart towards the churches he ministered to. His travels – his ‘itinerant ministry’ was not to give him a boost in income. Not to give him a ‘name’. Not to promote himself. Read both books of Thessalonians. He writes of a trip to the church
‘So, affectionately longing for you, we were pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.’ 1Thess 1:1
Again he longed to visit them. He prayed for them,’ remembering without ceasing’, he was ‘eager to see their face’. And when he could no longer endure not seeing them, Paul sent Timothy to go and encourage the church.
And, then he wrote the letters to tell them.
We are instructed to encourage one another and even more as we see The Day approaching.
So I challenge you to develop or strengthen this form of practical love. God can use whatever is in your hands. Do you have a cell phone? If you find yourself thinking about someone… don’t just pray for them (and yes that is important). How about flicking off a text to say you are. Do you have a child and crayons? How about them making a card for someone? Have a spare evening? Create a ‘guest night’ and invite different folks over for dinner. Yes it takes initiation. Yes, it can take effort. But God can take the little in your hand, and minister mightly to another.