March 20, 2009

Transformation Through Encouragement

2 Timothy 1:1-4

I thank God … as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
2 Timothy 1:3


Paul wrote a letter to young Timothy to motivate him in his ministry. Paul openly expressed his positive feelings for Timothy by sharing fond memories of him.

Paul’s relationship to Timothy was like that of John Wesley to William Wilberforce. For years Wilberforce had worked to abolish the slave trade in England. The intensity of the struggle had so discouraged him that he was ready to give up. On his deathbed, Wesley heard of his friend’s weariness. With trembling hand he wrote, “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Oh, be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it.” Wesley died six days later, but Wilberforce fought faithfully for forty-five more years till in 1833, only three days before his own death, he witnessed the abolition of slavery in Great Britain.

Everyone needs an encourager. Paul encouraged Timothy as he wrote: “I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy.”

Today we have opportunity to motivate others to give their all to God. Encouragement lights a fire in our soul and inspires us to work with our whole heart. So tell those around you today how much they mean to you!

Father, may encouragement flow from our lips so that we may motivate those around us. We praise you for your encouraging grace, which energizes us to keep growing. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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