HEBREWS 3:12-14 – Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,.
THEME OF THE DAY. A MINISTRY FOR ALL PRACTICED BY FEW. I know the theme of the day is bold. It is a statement that contains assumptions. Hopefully, not judgment, but assumptions based on observations of myself and Christians in my world. But let me provide what might take my presuming statement and put some substance to it.
What we are talking about is the ministry every Christian is responsible for as identified in today’s scripture – encouragement. Now the substance. Here is a two question quiz. How we answer either affirms my bold statement or dismisses it – Question # 1 – In the past week, have you been personally, individually, reached out to by another Christian in the ministry of encouragement? Question # 2 – In the past week, have you reached out personally, and individually to another Christian in the ministry of encouragement? How did we do? Was it a quiz we passed with flying colors? Or did we have to look back and find neither of those two things happened in our lives last week?
The ministry of encouragement is a responsibility and privilege of every true Christian. It is commanded. It is exhorted. It is modeled and it ranks high in importance in the lives of all believers. We need to receive it. We need to give it. The consequences are severe if neither is happening in our lives and from our lives. There was a story of a young boy who was severally depressed. He determined to end his life by jumping off a bridge in New York City. He left a note saying, “If anyone along the way would smile or speak a kind word to him, he would not go through with his plan.” Nobody did. So he did.
We live in culture, inside and outside the church, of lonely, discouraged, depressed, and suffering people who are looking for a life ring of encouragement from God’s people. Are we that people? Remember, this ministry is not optional. It is a command. And the number one reason why this ministry for all is practiced by few is we simply are way too self-centered. The ease, and especially in these times we live, of being all about me, my, and mine is hampering the Gospel of Jesus Christ lived through His people. It is the Gospel that is the only hope and word of encouragement for the world, yet, it too easily remains “hidden under a bushel” among God’s people. Friends, this must not be so. The serious state of people all around us, even our brothers and sisters in the Lord, demands the ministry of encouragement flows from us on a consistent basis. But there is more.
There are serious ramifications for the Christian not doing the ministry of encouragement. Go back and look at today’s scripture. Do we see it? The writer warns us if we are not engaging people, God’s people especially, with encouragement, our hearts will be become hard and deceived. Neglect of encouraging others brings devastating spiritual consequences on the one neglecting to encourage.
Well, let’s think about the young man on the bridge again. Would we have been the one to offer him a word and smile of encouragement and talked him down off the ledge? The ministry of encouragement is for all and may it be practiced by all who name the name of the Lord Jesus.
PRAYER: “Father, forgive me when I fail to see beyond my little world of self to those who need me to be Jesus to them.”
QUOTE: “The ministry of encouragement is for every Christian and is to be practiced constantly not sporadically”