Paul in Hebrews 10:24-25 shares some very good advice:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.”
Discouragement is a problem that has a readily available solution – Encouragement! The word “encourage” is a transitive verb which means to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope. The Spiritual Gift of Encouragement is a caring facet of love.
People today are in great need of encouragement in the face of the fears of the Coronavirus. Whether we are out and about and practicing COVID-19 social interactions or we are still doing social isolation, it is important that we intentionally socialize and encourage one another through channels that fit our situation in positive ways.
Barnabas is probably the best example of an encourager I have found in the Bible. Born Joses, he was nicknamed Barnabas which means “son of encouragement” because he became known as one that encouraged others. Barnabas was there when Saul needed to be introduced and integrated into the church following his conversion as he was nearing Damascus on a “People of the Way” search and destroy mission. Naturally, the early church was afraid of Saul. Barnabas saw Saul for who he had become in Christ and was there to encourage him when others rejected him. He even encouraged the apostles to give him an opportunity to share his testimony. Later (Acts 11:19+) when Barnabas was sent to Antioch to minister to the fast-growing group of Greek believers there, he found Saul in Tarsus and brought him with him to Antioch. Together they taught there for one year. Looking forward, Saul became Paul, whose ministry to the Gentiles had widespread impact on the church then and now.
I believe that God wants you and I to be sons and daughters of encouragement. Here are 4 simple things we can do to encourage someone:
- Choose someone that God puts on your heart to encourage
- Affirm something positive that they are doing (that is the act of encouraging)
- Pray for and with the person
- Do-Something that tells them you care
Lord God, I desire to be a person who encourages others. Fill me with an urgency to listen as You show me someone that needs encouragement. We need a whole bunch of encouragers today. Please help me as I become a modern-day Barnabas. In Jesus name, Amen
PS: We at Laurel Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church are open for in-person services. We are carefully following COVID-19 guidelines. As you are struggling, you may find encouragement in the careful interaction followed at our Sabbath School and Worship Service on Sabbath and in our virtual experiences through our Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom rooms available.
God Bless you, Pastor Bill Lindeman