I love you

“I love you, Pastor,” the little girl told me with a sad face. I sat down next to her and asked why she was sad. She told me that she had heard I was retiring and that she would miss me at church. Her face brightened when I told her that I planned to still be around, that she couldn’t get rid of this old guy that easily.  She encouraged me with her openly affectionate heart! I hope that I will consistently do the same for others.

A word of hope, a note of appreciation, a pause to take an interest in another – these are gifts of encouragement that enrich our lives.  Do you let the stress and fatigue of life to turn you into a critic? “Why does he do that anyway? What is wrong with him?”  “Doesn’t she know that she looks silly? Someone ought to tell her the truth!”  

Christian, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to change us into people who encourage.
How about it?

Let’s take a lesson from Jesus.  His disciples, when they saw an extravagantly loving choice, missed the beauty in the moment, becoming critics. “Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me?”  (Matthew 26:6-10, NLT) “Celebrate her choice,” He told them.  They didn’t take time to look into her heart and thus they missed out on the opportunity to share in her joy.

We will not always understand why others do the things they do. We may question the impracticality of another’s choice. We may not get why they choose that path. Let’s be cautious, very careful, about setting ourselves us to judge! Who gave you or me the right to decide what is best for everyone?  Yes, there is a time to correct, but even then, we are to do so gently as we ‘speak the truth in love.’   Face the fact, dear friend, most oof our criticisms have nothing to do with absolute right or wrong. They are based on preferences and priorities that we press on others.

This Monday morning, I want to invite you to take up the work of encouragement.  Pray for the grace of God to help you to express real appreciation to the unique people who are a part of your life. There is a richness to be found in the variety of people in your church, your family.  In Christ’s Church we are, despite our differences, truly one.  
Paul reminds us that even if somebody does not work like we do or express their faith as we do, we are to value them.  He says , “You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ.” (The Message, 1 Corinthians 12:12)

Make your encouragement sincere. You just might change someone’s life by showing a real, encouraging Jesus-inspired love!

Here’s a word from the Word. “You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called “today.” If you don’t, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn.” (Hebrews 3:13, CEV)  “Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” (Hebrews 10:25, CEV)

___________________

Look Up Child

(Lauren Daigle’s beautiful song of encouragement)

Where are You now
When darkness seems to win
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling

Oh I I
I hear You say
I hear You say

Look up child hey
Look up child hey
(Look up)

Where are You now
When all I feel is doubt
Where are You now
When I can’t figure it out

You’re not threatened by the war
You’re not shaken by the storm
I know You’re in control
Even in our suffering
Even when it can’t be seen
I know You’re in control

Jason Ingram | Lauren Daigle | Paul Mabury

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