It was my privilege to write the “Thought For The Week” which went out on an Eastern Baptist Association Mailing. This is the article wot I rit!
In my recent quiet times, I have been re-reading 1 Thessalonians. I say re-reading because, earlier this year, I preached a series on this letter and so it felt like getting in contact with an old friend as I read it for my devotions.
I had reached chapter 4. I was faced with Paul’s comments about death and the second coming of Christ. When I reached verse 18, something struck a bit of a chord with me;
Therefore encourage one another with these words
(1 Thessalonians 4 vs. 18)
Only a few verses later on, in chapter 5, Paul goes on to say;
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing
(1 Thessalonians 5 vs. 18)
As I was preparing to write this piece, an email appeared in my inbox urging me to buy a book called “The State of Hate”. What the book was about, I have no idea – it was spam, so I deleted it. However, it’s title reflected something that I see going on in the world at the moment. People are becoming polarized. When people are set apart from one another, the effects of that are hate, anger and aggression. In short, many people are living in a ‘State of Hate’.
As I reflected on this, it seemed to me that the Christian Church is called to be different. Rather than a ‘State of Hate’, we should be a ‘Community of Encouragement’.
Over the summer, I attended an event where the guest speaker, Rob Parsons, said that we should look to “catch people doing something good”. That really challenged me. I came back to my fellowship determined to catch folk “doing something good” and to give them some encouragement!
Is it worth a try in your situation?