April 24, 2013

Encourage and Build

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

—  1 Thessalonians 5:11

Have you ever been around a positive person who makes others smile? Such people can brighten even the dreariest of days. On the other hand, negative people can leave us feeling drained and discouraged.

Paul had a missionary friend named Barnabas, whose name means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). No wonder Barnabas was a leader in the church and a welcome companion to Paul. Surely Paul valued his encouragement when they were rejected and even beat up on their mission journey together (Acts 13-14).

Here Paul, like Barnabas, encourages the Thessalonians to be wise, sober, and unafraid of the dark times they lived in. They could wear faith, love, and hope as armor, encouraged and strengthened in Christ for any challenges that might come.

Think about words of encouragement that have inspired you. At a retreat, a friend spoke of how someone had described her as a leader, though she didn’t see herself that way. That inspired her to become more active in her church and to grow into her gifts.

Sometimes we take people for granted and don’t see the ways they are gifted. We forget to thank others for the ways they bless our lives. Does your family know how much you value them? How can you be a source of encouragement in your community? Who in your church could use an encouraging word to grow in their gifts?

Lord, make us a people who encourage one another and bring out the best in those around us. In Jesus' name, Amen.

About the author — Steven and Deb Koster

Steven and Deb Koster have a passion for marriages, families, and spiritual growth in the home. Both are ordained ministers in the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Steven formerly served as editor of Today and director of ReFrame's English-language outreach. Deb leads Family Fire, ReFrame’s family ministry at FamilyFire.com and on Facebook. The Kosters have three children.

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