Encourage your brother and sister in their faith
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. — I Thessalonians 5:9-11.
One morning a man opened his door to find a strange little dog standing there, wagging its tail, with the newspaper in its mouth. The man was so pleased with the strange little dog he gave it a reward.
The dog was obviously pleased also because the next morning, when the man opened his door, the little dog was there wagging its tail. This time the yard was full of newspapers. The little dog had collected all of the neighbors’ newspapers and deposited them in its new found friend’s yard. The gentleman spent the greater part of the morning returning his neighbors’ newspapers. Marion Gilbert in Reminisce, Reader’s Digest, February, 1994, p. 12.
Scripture tells us that after Cain killed his brother Abel, God visited him and asked him about his brother. His response was, “… Am I my brother’s keeper?” — (Gen. 4:9). That is a response many Christians would give today if asked the same question. We are so consumed with ourselves, we forget that we really are our brother’s keeper.
In the above text, the apostle reminds us that Jesus died for us all. That fact is most important to all Christians. Through His death, He delivered us from the wrath of God.
Because we are part of that one body the church, we are “like living stones being built into a spiritual house.” — (I Peter 2:5).
Stones by themselves are useless. To build a house or a wall, the stones are placed one upon another with mortar to hold them together. The mortar which holds us together is Jesus, the Christ.
As living stones being placed together, we have a responsibility to one another. It is wrong for us to say that we are not responsible for our Christian brothers and sisters. When we build up our brothers and sisters, we become useful to the church. Our Lord calls us to live in harmony with one another.
Unlike Cain, the apostle tells us to be concerned about one another. We are to build up one another through our encouragement. There are times when members call to encourage me. It helps. Such calls mean so much to me. The encouragement that we get from other Christians helps us in our faith.
A negative attitude can do much to cause one to lose his or her faith. A little encouragement goes a very long way. Think about it, if a little dog can appreciate encouragement, what about the people around us?
We should take time to encourage our children, our family and those around us. The people of faith need encouragement also. By building up one another, we help a brother or sister to grow in faith. We also help ourselves to grow in our faith.
The apostle encouraged the new Christians at Thessalonica to continue doing what they were doing. They were already encouraging the brothers and sisters in their faith.
The text also encourages us to build up one another. We should not gloat when a brother or sister fails. Instead, we should make every effort to pull them from their failure and help them to get back on their feet. That is what the Christian faith is all about.
As living stones, we need one another. Therefore, let us look for the good in our brothers and sisters and do our utmost best to encourage them and build them up. It is important to their faith and to ours. When they win, we win. Amen.
Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas, or Telephone 323-4107, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org