(This was originally posted on "The Watchman's Bagpipes" on 11/26/07)
It is the holiday season once again. For me the "holidays" begin in September each year. This is not only because our season changes into another beautiful autumn, but because our family birthdays begin at this time.
Soon enough our own celebrations blend into November’s thankful mood and then into the Christmas season with all the memories and activities that fill our days. These are wonderful times when we focus on what our LORD has given us in the bounty of our harvests and in the marvelous gift of grace in our precious Savior. It is a cheerful time as we all enjoy it, very happy to see it come.
Joy and happiness are not the only emotions which are felt during this season, though. You only need to look around to notice people next to you. As you get acquainted with others you discover there is much pain and heartache even among believers. Holidays tend to bring the heartaches to a painful crescendo that may be agony for them to endure through these months, only to finally end by entering into the dry, desolate desert of January and February.
There is, of course, a clear reason why the non-believers around us are not truly joyful during any season, especially this one. Bible-believing churches rightly encourage us to evangelize the lost since we have such Good News to share! This is our commission to which we must be obedient. So let us be willing to reach out with love and care for the lost, but when they choose Life let there be grace and mercy when they join us in the Body.
Let’s not let our love and care for people end when they enter our church Body. When considering believers, our problems do not necessarily end when we choose Jesus as our Savior. Sometimes this is just when our real hefty problems begin. Scripture is full of reminders for us to come along side and continually encourage each other in the faith.
Encouraging a fellow believer costs us much in time and emotions. It takes considerable time to listen to another person’s problems. It takes an emotional toll to consider their troubles so that you can then give Biblical advice or just bind their wounds temporarily. I say temporarily because trials are usually not over quickly. Trials for fellow believers could mean a long haul for them. When you choose to come along side them it is a must to run to the Father on their behalf. Just as you need the Father’s strength in all of your life’s activities, you will definitely need His strength when you tend to the wounded.
I personally have chosen to encourage others. Binding their wounds and loving them through their agonies is well worth the cost. Because of the LORD, this changes them. He also changes me, and His mighty name is glorified. Although their trial is not over, they are able to get up to do the “next things” in the joy of the LORD.
I have also been one of the wounded who has been tenderly picked up, my wounds bound, and then lovingly encouraged. I know it is well worth the cost. The LORD changes me, He changes the encourager, and His mighty name is glorified. Although my trial is not over, I am able to get up and to do the “next things.”
Yes, with the LORD it is well worth the cost. Let us go out encouraging as we build each other up in the faith.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:11-18