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Encourage One Another (It May Go Further Than You Think)

encourage one another logoIt was a note tucked into my wallet for over a decade. I just bought a guitar from my brother Deric, and when I got it home I took out my new instrument—and there was a note tucked in the case:

“Hey Matty, Keep at it. You’re good! Don’t give up! Love, Deric.”

It was the encouragement of an older brother. And I tucked it in my wallet—permanently.

You see, the music business is tough. People don’t really know that. Usually people just see the .01% flying around in planes eating an exotic kind of organic food cooked by monks in the Yukon. But most are hard-working creative people trying to support their families and live their dreams in a brutally tough industry.

So notes of encouragement are good. I would often turn to it when I needed a pick me up.

As time went on, if I was having a hard or discouraging week (when I was working various jobs, or at Queen’s Park as a political aide, or as I embarked on ordained ministry, or just in life in general), I would pull that note out of my wallet and feel the same encouragement I did the first time I read it:

“Hey Matty, Keep at it. You’re good! Don’t give up! Love, Deric.”

Those words went beyond any one particular situation.

And so.

I’m guessing you need encouragement.

And I’m guessing someone in your life needs encouragement too.

Why? It’s a tough world out there. I know because I live in the same world you do…

Loved ones die. Or they suffer terrible illness—and we struggle to make sense of any of it. There is crazy violence—“out there” and close by. Some of you have been terribly abused, sometimes physically or emotionally or sexually. There are addictions all around us—pornography or drugs or alcohol or gambling. And excuses. Families fracture and relationships strain under a dozen burdens. People get paused in the fog and lose the vision of their own purpose. There are the crippling realities of stress and the life-sucking power of anxiety. There is doubt. And there are the voices within that silently scream how ugly or unacceptable we are.

Encouragement is good. For you. For someone in your life…

Right now.

This is especially so as we approach the end of December. It can be a sad month for many, especially if it has been a year of loss. Or a year of mountain climbing with no end in sight.

Encourage. One. Another.

When I look through the New Testament I’m always amazed at how many up-building life-lifting passages there are about “each other” or “one another.” Check it out:

“Be devoted to one another in love.” (Romans 12:10)
“Honour one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)
“teach and admonish one another with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16)
“Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“Carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)
“Be patient, bearing with one another” (Ephesians 4:2)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24)
“Offer hospitality to one another” (1 Peter 4:9)
“Always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 5:15)
“Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16)
“Encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
“Encourage one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
“Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13)
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25)

Wow, that’s a lot of encouraging. And that’s not even including the over a dozen “love one another’s”!

Peter Lord said that “Ninety percent of what God wants to say to you is encouragement.”

I agree.

Think of it like my bike: The Supercycle X-21. If it sounds impressive, it’s not. It’s not terrible, but it’s not going to break the bank if you want to go buy one. It is, shall we say, dependable. To all outward appearances the front tire is fine—but air slowly leaks out of it. I have to proactively pump it up every few days or else it will go flat.

Just like us. We need to proactively pump each other up with encouragement to avoid going flat.

Encourage one another.

“Hey Matty, Keep at it. You’re good! Don’t give up! Love, Deric.”

Your encouragement might go way further than you think.

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