I remember one occasion when there was a business luncheon going on at church and I was trying to decide if I wanted to bother to attend. I was feeling kind of down in the dumps that day thinking it would be better if I just stayed home instead. However, my sister, Robbie encouraged me to go with her to the luncheon because she didn’t want to attend alone. So I agreed, reluctantly.
During the luncheon I was surprised to find myself enjoying the company at our table as well as the speaker. I was furiously scribbling notes and completely focused on what was being said instead of my current down-in-the-dumps mood. I was beginning to feel my spirit lift just a bit.
After the luncheon we decided to go upstairs to grab a coffee before we left the church and on the way we bumped into a friend, Ken, standing in the lobby. I gave a quick nod and smile, not really intending to stop and chat, but as I passed I heard him call out to me. I could see he wanted to talk, but I was focused on getting a cup of coffee and heading out. However, as I turned around Ken blurted out how he had just read one of my books and he was excited to share with me how much he enjoyed the book. I was taken quite by surprise because I had not solicited this encouragement from Ken, nor did I know he had even read one of my books. As Ken and I parted I remember feeling so encouraged about my writing abilities. My spirit lifted another notch or two as I skipped up the stairs toward my coffee.
After placing my order for a hot cappuccino we turned around to find a woman smiling back at us.
“Hello you two,” she said.
“Hello,” I replied.
“I always see you guys but I never get to speak to you,” she said.
“Oh?” I replied.
“I just wanted to tell you how much you both have encouraged me over the years.”
“We’ve encouraged you?” I asked. I wasn’t even sure who this person was so how could I have encouraged her?
“You’re always smiling and I always see you at church. I know you’ve been here for a long time and I just wanted to tell you it really helps me to strive for the same thing in my life.”
I was speechless, but I managed to smile and say, “Thank you.”
I woke up that morning feeling down in the dumps, but I left the church feeling so up and excited. If I had made the decision to stay home that day, I’m sure I would have nursed my down-in-the-dumps mood all day long. But just that one decision to attend a luncheon at church changed my whole perspective. I had been encouraged by others and heard some words of wisdom to live by as well.
“He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” Ephesians 4:16
Because others were doing their part by teaching and sharing words of encouragement, my whole countenance changed that day.
Do you know that over fifty times in the New Testament we’re commanded to do different tasks for one another? All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us. The Christian walk requires mutual accountability, encouragement, serving and honoring.
It’s important that we as Christians give encouragement as much as we want to receive encouragement. God created us to be in relationship with one another. He never intended for us to isolate ourselves and do life alone.
In authentic Christian fellowship we learn the art of giving and receiving. We learn healthy ways to depend upon each other. We’re better together. That’s the way God planned it.
Devoted Devotional By Polly Boyette