Yesterday we had a group of college-aged volunteers come to the Harvest to do a service project. To be honest, I was not looking forward to it. It has been a full week, and we’re heading into a full weekend, and so not only am I tired, but I’m not anticipating much rest this weekend. So what I really wanted was a quiet day to get things done before I headed home to crash in front of the TV for the evening.
But I knew that God had brought this group to be a help to The Harvest, and that there were opportunities to share the work He’s doing in West Tulsa. So I gritted my teeth and prepared for the day. The group arrived, and we began the day with a tour of The Harvest. As I spoke about the history of the ministry, and all that God’s been doing over the past 10 years, I began to feel more encouraged about the day. After the tour, the students got to work, and within a few minutes, two of them came over to talk to me about their own faith, and how God has been leading them to pursue urban ministry. It was encouraging to hear.
As the day went on, and as I had more opportunities to talk about all that God’s doing - and to hear how He’s at work in other people’s lives - I realized that I was getting refreshed and encouraged by the very thing that I had anticipated would be just one more burden for the week. So rather than wear me out, the service group actually turned out to be an encouragement because I wasn't focusing on myself anymore - instead, I was focusing on God.
As the day finished up, I was reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:11, which tells us, “Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” The word “encourage” is used over 58 times in the New Testament alone. The original Greek word is “paramutheomai”, and it means to both comfort and exhort. If we did a quick word search on it, we would see that God encourages us so that we can encourage each other - and one of the best ways we can do that is by sharing with each other what God's doing in our lives. It comforts us as we're reminded God's at work, and it exhorts us as it challenges us to persevere in our own faith.
The great news is that encouraging each other spiritually can be as simple as sharing what prayers God has answered for us, or sharing a verse we recently read that had an impact, or sharing how God's encouraged us through a certain circumstance or situation. In other words, it can be just like what happened yesterday as folks came together and simply shared what God was doing.
So today, let’s be intentional about encouraging each other. Let’s prayerfully ask God to remind us what He’s done in our lives this past week, and then as opportunities come up to share those things with others, let’s be faithful to do that - so that God will be glorified, and others will be encouraged.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!