Community Is . . . Encouragement
Scripture Reading — Acts 11:19-30
When [Barnabas] arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. — Acts 11:23
When Annika thinks about a recent mission trip she was on, she remembers meeting with the rest of her group each night to share stories about the day. Some of those were about joyful times when they saw God at work in what they were doing, and other stories were about struggles or hardships. Whatever the story was, the result was always the same. Her group would share encouragement and build each other up, helping everyone to refocus their attention on God.
We all experience times of joy and times of struggle in our lives. Having a place to share about them is meaningful and can help us celebrate and support one another. An encouraging community is a place where all of our experiences can be shared and we can receive support and friendship no matter what is going on around us.
In Acts 4:36 we meet Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement.” And throughout the book of Acts we see him doing what his name suggests. He is an encourager to the apostle Paul and many of the early churches.
We all need people in our lives who encourage us, and we need to be encouragers to others. That is what Christian community does.
Father, help us to find encouragement from others and to be encouragers to people who need to hear kind words today. Amen.