Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).
Friend to Friend
When my father-in-law passed away at age 93, we held a celebration of life. Family members and friends shared stories of the many ways dad had impacted their lives. My husband James talked about how his father had taught him a solid work ethic. Dad was an ophthalmologist (eye doctor), and he had a peculiar habit before stepping into his private practice. He would pick up the trash around his building. That made an impression on James–watching his father, the doctor, pick up trash every day.
Dad also instilled a love of learning in his kids. While other boys received presents like video games, James received a dictionary and a bookshelf.
The words of affirmation and appreciation poured out lavishly during the celebration of life ceremony and rightfully so.
It’s certainly fitting to speak praise at a memorial service and special occasions like retirement parties or birthdays. We have a little tradition around birthdays in my home. My kids always know it’s coming, but they let me do it anyway. I have everyone around the table say something they appreciate about the birthday person. I love words of affirmation, so this fills my cup big time. A birthday is a wonderful annual reminder to express love and appreciation. But you don’t have to wait for a birthday or memorial service to build someone up with kind and truthful words.
Today’s truth reminds us to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Here Paul is complimenting the church of Thessalonica. You are encouraging each other–keep that up! Now it says “Therefore encourage one another…” and when the Bible says, therefore, you see what happens beforehand to merit the therefore.
In this passage, Paul is reminding the believers that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. We are not in darkness and we are to be sober in light of His coming. We are going to live with God forever. Therefore encourage one another…
We can live with great hope. No matter how bleak the week, the future is as bright as the promises of God. Encourage each other with hope-infused words. Maybe you’re not sure what to say or who to say it to. Paul continues in verses 12 and 13 to show us who to encourage, “Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
Take a minute this week to encourage your pastor, small group leader, children’s worker, or the volunteer that prepares communion at your church. Notice those who faithfully work to minister to others. Share your appreciation lavishly and frequently. If you’ve ever done ministry work, you know it can be hard to keep going year after year. That’s why the power of encouragement is so needed.
Paul also tells us to encourage the disheartened in verse 14. Who do you know that has suffered a recent disappointment or loss? Take a moment to send a text, note or call with an encouraging word. A kind word can be a reminder that things won’t always be so bleak.
In Acts 4:36, we are introduced to Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus. But you probably don’t recognize this Joseph. You probably know him as Barnabas, the name the apostles gave him which means “son of encouragement.” Barnabas sold a field he owned and brought the money to support the ministry of the disciples. Not only did Barnabas encourage others with his finances, but he also encouraged people by believing in them. It was Barnabas who brought Saul (Paul) to the apostles in the first place. Without Barnabas’ stamp of approval, who knows how Paul’s story would have turned out.
We have a bright future–Christ is coming again. Therefore, let us encourage our brothers and sisters to keep laboring for the gospel. Let our words bring comfort to the brokenhearted and become fuel to keep others going in ministry.
Dear God, thank You for all Your precious promises. Place on my heart the person you want me to encourage today. Give me the words to say.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Who can you think of that needs encouragement? Make a point to encourage him or her this week.
Who in your life encourages you? Be intentional about being around this person, whether for a cup of coffee or a service opportunity.
More from the Girlfriends
Did you know Arlene has a weekly podcast to equip moms and wives? It’s called the Happy Home and is always packed with things to learn from guest experts, practical applications, and a few laughs. You can listen to the Happy Home podcast wherever you get your podcasts and always at AccessMore.
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