Ask any pastor and they will tell you, it's hard work to prepare and deliver a message week after week. Sometimes pastors feel they haven't prepared enough, they didn't speak as well as they would like or the message didn't connect as they had hoped. Words of appreciation, words that affirm and build up can carry a pastor through the coming week. I have been blessed to pastor a congregation that has done that for me.
Most of us can recall similar conversations, similar encounters that have brought a smile to our faces and joy to our hearts. We are all like little children whose faces light up when they hear words that bless and encourage and inspire them.
It is one of the simplest, most straight-forward commands in the New Testament: encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18; Hebrews 13:3) -- encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace (2 Corinthians 13:11) -- encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The word encourage means to urge forward, to persuade and carries the idea coming alongside, to advocate and comfort. In all that we are called to be as Christians, we can be encouragers; in all that we are called to do as a church, we can encourage one another.
But, we live in a world where it has become easier to discourage and tear down rather than encourage and build up; complaint and expressions of dissatisfaction are so very commonplace in our day. We can easily become critical, we can easily default to a place of entitlement and fail to express appreciation, common courtesy and words that bless and edify another.
I write these words a simple reminder to myself to always be seeking to speak words of encouragement, to do acts of kindness, to bless and build up and to avoid careless, insensitive words or an attitude of indifference. Every day we have the opportunity to bless those in our sphere of influence, those who cross our paths. We called to build up one another, to carry one another's burdens, to pray for another, to rejoice with those who are rejoicing and to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
Therefore, my friends at Valley, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)