Monday, February 2, 2015

Encouraging Others in Christ

1 Thessalonians 3:7
"For this reason, brothers and sisters, during all our distress and persecution we have been encouraged about you through your faith."

Last Monday after the snow, I observed my neighbor walking around to people who were shoveling their walks; he was lending them some help.  As I was cleaning cars and shoveling my own driveway and walk, I thought the following two things:

1. I can see this offer of self as an annoyance.  Why should I help the neighbors when I have enough to do here? He is setting precedent for me and making me look bad. 

  • This view is full of egotism and reeks of temptation; notice the emphasized personal pronouns "I" and "me."
2. I can see my neighbor's small act of loving service as a testament to faith and how God uses the ordinary person to channel His grace. This act of sacrifice models how I need to put others before me.  Additionally, my neighbor's witness, whether he was aware of it or not, is infectious and makes me want to do something for someone else. For the rest of the day, I think about my neighbor's witness and pray that God uses me in a similar way. 

  • This view focuses on God first, neighbor second, and me last. It is how Christ modeled true discipleship, and although I know I more often miss the mark, it is how I want to live. 
Paul is talking about the same thing in this verse.  Our living acts of faith encourage others.