Encourage one another, though it might get messy
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Pastor Jim Miller
GCU Corporate Chaplain
I’ve lived out of the snow now for 20 years, and I’d be overjoyed if God never gives me the pleasure of shoveling it again.
But having grown up in Pennsylvania and having spent the bulk of my life in winter wonderlands, I’ve had lots of chances to help people whose cars were stuck in the snow. The secret is to rock the car. If you don’t, the tires just spin and you don’t go anywhere. In one case, I was pushing from the rear fender of a car, the driver gunned the engine, and the tire I was behind spun through the snow into the mud underneath, spewing a ton of mud behind the car where I was pushing — cold, wet mud.
Talk about fun.
At chapel last week, I said that the word the New Testament writers use for “encourage” actually means “to come alongside someone in their need.” It is in fact the same word Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit — the “one who comes alongside us.”
When you push a car out of a snow drift, you are, in fact, encouraging those people. You are literally coming alongside them. You are doing the same when you compassionately care for the person next to you who is hurting. You are joining with the Holy Spirit in providing comfort and support.
There are two things to get from this. First, this is how we are made. We are to care so much about the people around us that we are compelled to act on their behalf, to love them, counsel them, speak truth over them. Here’s how John says it: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:17, 18).
Second, sometimes coming alongside someone will be messy. You can’t get deep into the hurts of others without sometimes getting mud kicked on you. But you can handle that because it’s not just you who has your shoulder to the fender. The Holy Spirit, the ultimate “One who comes alongside” is already shoulder to shoulder with you, empowering you to bring His encouragement and comfort to those around you.
Don’t forget about the next all-employee chapel from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 18 in the first floor lecture room of the 27th Avenue Office Building. Pastor Tim Griffin will be speaking — a definite upgrade from the last chapel!