Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
What do you think about when you hear the word cherish? For me, I think about my two children. Born to me, when I thought I would never have any more children, I adore them tremendously.
One meaning for the word cherish, according to Dictionary.com, is “to care for tenderly; nurture.” But how do you nurture? One way I nurture my children is to encourage them. For instance, online schooling has been somewhat challenging for my 15-year-old daughter. On those occasions when she becomes extremely frustrated, she says to me, “Mommy, can I drop out of school?” Of course, my answer is no. But I also tell her when she passes all her exams, she will be happy she never gave up.
I tell her that because, despite her frustrations, she is disciplined and tries to finish all her homework and coursework on time. If she is having trouble working out a math problem, all I need to do is sit by her and almost instantly, she figures it out herself. Sometimes, just my presence helps her focus. I tease her and say, “What will you do without me, child?” and she replies, “You better be there with me on exam day.”
The bible is filled with verses on encouragement and building each other up. For instance, Romans 15:2 NLT says, “We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord.” So how do we go about encouraging and building up one another?
Encourage by Spending Time Together
One way is to spend time together. Before the pandemic, a group of us ladies got together once a month for this specific reason—to encourage. We gathered and spoke about what was in our hearts and the things that troubled us. We helped each other find ways to solve our problems. Of course, some issues were not as cut and dried, as to find an immediate solution. So we comforted and consoled one another. At the end of the session, one lady prayed for each of us, and we left for home a lot more light-hearted.
Other times we each prepared a dish and met just for fun. We talked and laughed and generally had a good time. I deeply cherished those moments.
Be Encouraged—Jesus’ Return is Imminent
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, the call to encourage one another stemmed from the Church’s confusion about the second coming of Christ. They were worried about the believers who died before Jesus’ return. Paul sought to thwart their fears by explaining to them that when Jesus comes, the believers who died will be raised first. Then, together with those who are alive will meet the Lord in the air and be with Him in eternity (see I Thessalonians 4:16-17). He then told them to encourage each other with those words (verse 18) and repeated the call in I Thessalonians 5:10-11.
We see a similar instruction in Hebrews 10:25 NLT: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
I am not able to be with my daughter in the exam room. But I tell her, “Think about me sitting next to you, and you will do fine.” There is no doubt in my mind she will do well and pass all her exams.
Friends, we need to do the same, that is, think about Jesus when we encounter problems. When faced with trials and all the chaos happening in the world, we need to think about Jesus and that one day soon, He will return to take us to be with Him forever. And not just that, but there will also be a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13 NIV). Therefore, encourage one another with these words.
God, help me to be a positive impact on those around me by the things I do and speak. Help me to encourage and comfort anyone who face trying and difficult circumstances. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Used with permission from Lisa Marcelina Granger.