March 07, 2007

Surprising Encouragement

Hebrews 3:12-14

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened ... Hebrews 3:13


In 1958 the first Tchaikovsky Piano Competition was held in Moscow. A 23-year-old participant from the United States, Van Cliburn, played so masterfully that he received an eight-minute standing ovation. He won first prize, received a hero's welcome back in the U.S., and enjoyed coverage in the worldwide press.

Few people, however, know what Van Cliburn did with his prize, an expensive car. To the dismay of Soviet authorities, he donated it to the only evangelical church permitted in Moscow at that time. Van Cliburn had visited that church for Sunday worship and was so moved by the stories of persecuted believers there that he decided to encourage them in this unexpected way.

Encouraging one another is an important part of our daily walk with Christ. We live in a world corrupted by unbelief, sin, and, at times, persecution. How can we stay firm in our faith? Scripture gives us this recipe: love, encourage, and pray for one another. In God's grace, the Holy Spirit uses these acts of mutual care to see us through the most trying of times.

When fellow believers are struggling, be quick to extend your helpful, sharing hand. Be graceful and generous. Offer words of comfort and prayer, as well as tangible acts of help. Encourage people around you, and be surprised by how much you are encouraged yourself!

Father, we praise you for faithful believers who have encouraged us in our daily journey of faith. Give us your love so that we may become godly encouragers to others. Amen.

About the author — Sergei Sosedkin

Sergei Sosedkin is the Russian-language ministry leader for ReFrame Ministries. He is a native of Moscow, Russia. As he oversees the Russian-language ministry, Sosedkin works from our office in Grand Rapids and in various locations in Russia.

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