Flocks of Encouragement
by Youth Pastor, Christina Fischer
Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
This may not come as a surprise to many of you, but I will admit it freely – I am a people person! This past week, I have gotten to do something that has brought joy to a variety of people, but also to my heart as well. The simple act of dropping off a flock of flamingos and a sign declaring our joy at having each of you as part of the South Bend flock has been so much fun. While the main purpose is to encourage our church family and friends, the side benefit for me (and hopefully each of you) has been the friendly greetings and seeing your faces, from a safe distance of course. Getting to connect and to speak with my friends has been a blessing in my life. It has encouraged me as well!
In our scripture today, the last verse is the one that my heart had focused on. Our job according to the writer of Thessalonians, is to encourage on another and build each other up. This doesn’t mean that each of us isn’t going through very difficult times of our own, but that we put our concerns aside for a moment to focus on encouraging those around us. I have found that by doing so, we begin to be encouraged as well and see our own situations differently. Even Jesus, as He was preparing to go to the Cross carrying the sins of the world, spent time to pray for each of us (Look at John 17:20-23). The song “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath speaks to this. In the lyrics, he is requesting to have the eyes of God so he can show compassion and love to those around him. That is my prayer for us. That we would have the eyes of Jesus to see where we can lift up those around us.
Be encouraged, friend, that we are not alone and that we have the power to bring joy to those around us – even if it is just a couple flamingos in the front yard to bring a smile.
Reflect on these questions with someone else or on your own:
- In what way have I been encouraged lately?
- How can I encourage those around me even while we are socially distanced?
- Make a plan to reach out to several people this week that may need encouragement.