“And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place. Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
Paul was a missionary, church planter, and powerful gospel communicator. I believe he does not get enough credit for being a strong encourager of the saints. He lets the Thessalonian church know that he has heard positive things about them through the region. The testimony of their faith was strong and he wanted them to be encouraged. This was especially important since they had received the gospel themselves, “in much affliction.” This lets us know that the Thessalonian Christians lived and ministered in a difficult setting. I believe that you cannot encourage a person enough. To let another person know how much they are appreciated, respected, and loved is critical in our care for one another. A positive word, delivered at just the right time, may mean the difference between someone giving up or moving forward. Our goal as Christians should be to see our fellow brothers and sisters move forward.
Can you remember a time in your life where you benefited from a word of encouragement? How did that make you feel?
How many different ways can you think of to show encouragement to someone else?